Put down that cell phone! 5 ways to engage with your preschooler today

Oct 21, 2011 at 9:56 a.m. ET

It's easy to let your preschooler play with his cars while you log some work or social time via your iPhone, but it's time to put your cell away and interact with your child. Here are five ways to engage your preschooler today.

Mom giving preschooler piggyback ride

1Chat him up

If there's one thing preschoolers like to do, it's talk. About their favorite trains, their princess tutu collection... about anything! Ask your child easy questions and see where the conversation takes you. You may be surprised by what you'll learn about your preschooler by engaging in a conversation with him.

2Game on

One of the best parts of becoming a parent is getting to be a kid all over again! Take some time each day to simply engage in simple play with your child. Toss a ball back and forth, climb up the jungle gym with him or see who can go higher on the swings. Yes, you are the parent -- but you can also be your child's favorite playmate.

3Read between the lines

Instead of simply reading your child's books to her verbatim, get creative. Ask your child about what she sees on the pages, what she thinks the character should do, etc. Better yet? Make up your own stories -- starring your favorite main character: your child!

4Recruit a little helper

Even household chores can be fun when you enlist help from your preschooler. Ask him to help you sort laundry by color or help you with simple mealtime tasks like setting the table, folding napkins, adding ingredients like nuts and chopped apples into a salad, or getting outside and messy in the garden with your little helper by your side.

5On the road again

Drive time is the perfect time to engage your child -- after all, she's strapped right there behind you! Play a road trip game such as "I Spy," sing silly tunes like "If You're Happy and You Know It" (but, please, Mom, hands on the wheel!), or have her help you spot mile markers along the freeway.


Each activity you engage your child in can also be a learning lesson. Every time you engage with your child, he is soaking up new information. So when his spotlight is on you, take the opportunity to teach your child something in a fun way!

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