Early childhood skills pave way for later success

And many parents hope they are able to help their children develop these crucial social and emotional skills as they enter early education programs.

An August 2012 PBS Kids survey of 1,008 mothers of children ages 2-6 revealed that 67 percent of respondents said they provide childcare at home for their youngest child. Half use professional childcare through a preschool program, professional daycare, or at-home daycare.

Parents said they believe their children receive more guidance on the skills their children will need for kindergarten from their parents at home, instead of from professional daycare. Eighty-six percent of parents said they have a lot of influence in preparing their children for kindergarten, and 59 percent said their children’s preschool teachers have a lot of influence.

Parents spend a different amount of time teaching different skill sets. They spend “a lot of time” teaching their children to follow directions (59 percent), count to 10 (57 percent), share (54 percent), and ABCs (53 percent). The survey revealed that parents are less likely to teach their children how to work independently (44 percent) and solve problems (40 percent).

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Many parents said they feel they don’t spend enough time preparing their kids for kindergarten, but said they generally feel that they spend more time than professional caregivers.

Only about half of parents (54 percent) said they feel very confident in their ability to support their child in math, 62 percent said they feel confident supporting their children in literacy, and 61 percent said they feel confident supporting their children in social and emotional preparedness. Roughly one in five parents said they feel they do not have the tools needed to prepare their children’s social/emotional skills for entry into kindergarten.

Forty percent of parents use reading, 39 percent use counting, and 33 percent use ABCs as the primary activities to teach their children. Nine percent said they use educational TV shows and videos.

When shown a list of sources that teach children’s social and emotional skills, parents cited parenting books and magazines (47 percent), PBS Kids (46 percent), online parenting sites (46 percent), and other moms or parents (45 percent).

Laura Ascione

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