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Getting ready

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Next time your baby needs their nappy changed use the time to sing songs and to talk to them. As you change your baby’s nappy, name the different parts of their body and talk about what they can use them for.

Here are your feet. They are good for jumping and kicking the ball.

It’s time to change the sheets and make the bed. This time, you could ask your child to help you.

Where will you start? Will you ask them to take off the sheets or put the fresh, clean ones on?

As you work together, talk about what you are doing and where you will start.

We are going to start at the base and work up. Let’s put the fitted sheet on first and then we will do the quilt cover.

When we put the quilt cover on, the buttons go at the top of the quilt, closest to the pillows.

Your family has finished their meal together and now it’s time to clean up. Who is going to clear it all away? You could ask your child to help.

Talk with your child about where to start. Do you need to pack away the plates and other things from the table first? Is it possible to just wipe the table straightaway?

We need to put away the containers and dishes before we can wipe the table clean.

You can put the serviettes into the rubbish bin while I carry the heavy plates to the kitchen sink.

Cleaning our teeth is something that we do at least once every day. Some families have a routine of cleaning their teeth after every meal while other families may clean their teeth in the morning and then at night before they go to bed. Talking to your child as you clean their teeth - or as they try themselves - is a wonderful opportunity to use positional and directional language. Talk about where you will start cleaning.

Next time you are dressing your baby talk about what you are doing. 

Let’s get you dressed and ready for the day. It’s cold outside so we need warm clothes. 

As you move your baby around to put on their clothes, name the different parts of their body. After a while you might notice that your baby begins to help you by turning with you. 

First we put on your top. Over your head it goes. One arm, now the other arm. There you go.

You could talk about what is going to happen next. 

Quick! It’s time to go. We will be late for school. But where are your shoes and socks?

Encouraging your child to find their shoes and socks helps them to develop listening and navigation skills.

Talk to your child about where their shoes and socks might be. Is there a special place where all of the shoes are kept?

Your shoes are by the front door. We took them off before we came inside.

What will you wear today?
There are plenty of decisions to make when you help your child get dressed in the morning.

What are you doing today?
Does what you do change what you will wear? Is it a day at home or a going out day?

Today we are going to playgroup so you’ll need to wear clothes you can play in.

What is the weather like today?
You can find out by looking at the weather forecast or just looking out the window.

It will be cold outside so what will you need to wear - a jumper or a T-shirt?

What’s the time? Is it time for bed?

Getting ready for bed is a wonderful opportunity to explore time and to look at the way we combine events together into a sequence. As bedtime approaches talk about what time your child will go to bed and how they know when that is. Is their bedtime 6pm - at the end of a favourite program? Or is it at the end of the evening meal?

The washing is done, the sun is shining and now it’s time to hang it out. Your child could help you do this.

Put the bucket of pegs and the basket of washing on the ground where your child can reach them. Ask your child to find different items of clothing. As they find each one see if they can work out how many pegs are needed to hang them on the line.

Can you find the spotty socks and the purple shorts? How many pegs will we need to hang them up?

What time of the day does your bin get emptied? Is it early in the morning while you are still in bed or later in the day when you are out and about?

Talk to your child about your routine for putting the bin out. The time that it's emptied will tell you when to put it out. If it's very early in the morning you might need to put it out the night before.

It’s bath time and there is a lot to do to get ready. You can talk to your child about all the different choices that happen as part of getting ready.

How hot will the water be and how deep will you fill the bath? How many children will be in the bath together? If there is more than one, does this change how much water you need for the bath? Are you going to add bubble bath to the water? When does the bubble bath go in?

Once all the bath time choices have been made, talk about what happens and when.

How you load or unload the dishwasher can be unique to you or your family and might be different just because of the type of dishwasher you have. As you work with your child to load or unload the dishwasher, explain to them how you will go about the task and the reason for the decisions you are making.

This plate is longer and has sharp corners compared to the plate that has curved corners. This plate is thicker so will not fit in that slot.

Packing up time can be turned into a fun learning experience when you and your child share the task together. Talk about where each toy belongs before you put it away, so that your child is able to predict where to place items.

We have lots of different toys to pack away. We can put the blocks in the basket and the cars in the bucket. We can roll up the car mat and pop it behind the toy box.

Turn the task into a game by setting some challenges.

When children go to childcare, kindergarten or school they will take a bag with them. In their bag there will be things that they need every day and some things that they will only need for that day. Ask them to identify what they need every day and to locate the objects to go into the bag. Talk about what are the “only today things” and where they can find them.

Shoes and socks sometimes need to go on quickly, but when you have a few extra minutes putting on shoes and socks can be a wonderful opportunity to explore direction, space and the type of footwear you need for different events or weather conditions.

Children often love to help around the home. Establishing regular routines and ways for completing tasks helps them to be involved in the everyday activities you do as a family.

You might be surprised to discover just how much your child will enjoy taking part in your family's everyday routines.

Often when you go to do the washing you will have a large basket of dirty clothing, towels, or sheets that need to be sorted before they can be put in the washing machine. Your child can help you to sort and group the items ready to wash. Talk to your child about the different ways that you can sort the washing, such as by colour, by material, and by function. Once you have identified how you will sort the clothing ask your child to find certain things, such as all the socks or all the green clothes.

Splish splash, I’m in the bath and having lots of fun.

Let your child play, exploring the water and how it moves as they swish their hands and legs. Let them try and scoop up the water with their hands, exploring what happens when they open their fingers. Does the water stay put or does it trickle out slowly and run back into the bath?

Washing the dog can be a great activity on a hot day. There can be lots of discussion and negotiation as you try and wash your dog without ending up soaked.

Let’s call the dog 'Harry'.

Harry is a big dog and you will have to work hard to get him wet from head to tail.

Before starting, work out a plan about how you will wash Harry and who will do what.

Where will you start? What do you need to do first? Can you put the shampoo straight on or do you need to get Harry wet first? Who will get the water?

Do you wash the dishes in a sink or in the dishwasher? Are there times when you choose to wash the dishes rather than put them in the dishwasher?

We need to wash the saucepans as they are too big to fit in the dishwasher.

If you don’t have a dishwasher do you wash up after every meal or wait until the end of the day when there is a pile of dishes to do?

There are only 2 plates and 2 glasses from our lunch so let’s wait and wash them with the dishes from dinner.

It’s time to wash your child’s hair. Where will you start? Will you brush out the tangles first or dive straight in and get their hair wet?

Talk with your child about what you are doing. Do you wash your child’s hair as part of their bath time routine or do you wash their hair over a basin?

Can you tip your head back so the water will run down your hair and into the bowl behind you?

As you wash your child’s hair talk about how long or how thick their hair is and where you will start to wash.

Together you can look closely at hands and fingers, turning them backwards and forwards, talking about the back of your hand and the top of your hand. Talk with your child as you wash your hands together.

Let’s turn on the tap slowly to fill the sink. How many hands do you have? How many fingers do you have? Let’s put our hands in the water and wash right up to our wrists.

Now we can dry our hands and let the water drain away. Sing a song while you wash your hands, such as ‘this is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, to wash away the dirt’.