4 to 7 Years Old
Developmental milestone: Learning to read.
Focus on: A comfortable nook.
Right now your child is: Into books, whether of the picture-driven, pop-up, or prose variety. “Reading is all about using language to open up a world that’s not immediately present,” says Gillian Dowley McNamee, Ph.D., a professor and the director of teacher education at the Erikson Institute, in Chicago. “What matters most for a child in developing this skill is having conversations with a parent about the narrative of a book.” Having a welcoming place to read with your child (or children) and to ask questions about the book facilitates this learning process. Books of nursery rhymes or poetry, adds McNamee, can be invaluable in teaching wordplay, a critical step to understanding words in print.
Take advantage by: Creating a cozy reading nook—basically a comfortable chair or a beanbag in close proximity to a bookshelf. As your child becomes increasingly interested in chapter books, which she can read on her own, she may want a reading lamp on her nightstand. (Anne of Green Gables can’t wait until morning.)
- Julia upholstered chair (similar to one shown), from $699, ballarddesigns.com. The Original Fatboy beanbag (not shown), which comes in 16 colors, is a more casual option ($239, fatboy.com).
- Pine bookcase with adjustable shelves (shown painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove), $99, gothiccabinetcraft.com.