Kate’s Corner
Feb 03 2015

  Map It Out

Although young children are very bright, lots of fun, and extremely loving, they’re not really good navigators. They often seem to get lost along the way. They need you to help them get to where they are going, help them “map it out.” Consider the many “maps” or navigational tools that we rely on in our lives as adults. Children rely on you. You are the navigational tool that your child counts on.

Maps have a starting and ending point. Maps highlight which road is the best to take among the many to choose from. Maps are labeled with the compass rose, which keeps you headed in the right direction, they offer symbols to identify landmarks you will go through along the way, and maps are relied on no matter where we are in our lives.

So, how do you help your children navigate successfully to reach their destinations?

These are the landmarks that direct them to literacy:

  • reading to your child from infancy
  • offering crayons and pencils to toddlers
  • taking your child to the library and bookstore
  • hanging up beginning scribbles and later writing papers
  • pointing out letters in his name that you find on cereal boxes
  • talking, talking, talking about everything
  • celebrating every little word they say
  • read and then write

Here’s how you can help map out healthy nutrition habits:

  • offer your baby cheerios on his high chair tray
  • take your toddler shopping so she sees you choose carrots and apples
  • mix blueberry smoothies for a cold treat
  • serve salad instead of french fries
  • leave candy on the store shelf instead of in your cupboard
  • say no to the drive-thru at fast food restaurants
  • let your child plan the menu and help set the table for dinner
  • establish water over soda as a choice

How can you keep your child on the road of friendship when there will, naturally, be many detours along the way:

  • speak kindly and respectfully to your child and everyone you are with
  • praise your child when they are cooperative and helpful to you and others
  • invite their friends to your home
  • play with him to model the actions of winning and losing at games and challenges
  • take your child, from very early ages, with you to volunteer
  • point out acts of kindness that you see
  • teach them to step up and step in to help themselves and to help others

“A map does not just chart, it unlocks meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between ideas that we did not know were connected.”

R. Larsen