“Ask Ms. Lu”
Q. When should I begin reading to my child?
Ms. Lu: It is never too early to read to your child because the child recognizes the mother’s voice before the baby is born. The mother’s voice is very soothing to the child. You should begin to read to your child as soon as you know you are expecting and should definitely begin as soon as the he or she is born.
Reading is important because it develops vocabulary and language. Vocabulary development is the best practice for easing your child into reading. You want your child to recognize a lot of words–especially words you do not normally use regularly. Reading is also a good practice because it allows the child to be close to you. By reading to them regularly, such as before bedtime, they will associate reading as a pleasant thing to do.
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About Ms. Lu
Lu Lewis who has served at Creative Discovery Museum in various positions since its inception in 1995 including serving as the Museum’s first Director of Education. Lu has a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has over 30 years experience teaching early childhood in Chattanooga Public Schools. She also served as Associate Director of Invest in Children for United Way; as Literacy Fellow for Cornerstone, consultants in education; and as Associate for Professional Development for the Public Education Foundation; among many other outstanding community roles.
In addition to her vast experience, Lu has conducted several national presentations on childhood development and emerging literacy, contributed to several published childhood education articles, developed a guide for teachers, and served on many boards and advisor councils nationwide.
Ms. Lu is well respected by early childhood experts throughout the community. In her honor, the “Lu Lewis Award” is presented annually by the Chattanooga Association for the Education of Young Children.
Ms. Lu resides in Chattanooga with her much loved cat named Star.
Q: My child is starting kindergarten and I am already feeling emotional. How can I make it easier for him and me?
A: Kindergarten. It’s a big step, not only for the child, but also for the parent. As a parent, how are you going to handle your child going to “Big School?”
First, you must understand the bittersweet feeling you are experiencing is completely natural. You must allow yourself to grieve a little. Understand this same emotion will reappear when your child goes to college or gets married. Big school is different from any other setting, even if your child has been going to Pre-K or daycare, because it symbolizes the end of an era. One of the greatest things you can do for your child on their first day of school is to remain positive while in your child’s presence. If you feel the need to cry, try to hold off until your child has gone into the classroom. It is important for the child not to see you cry because the child needs to view Kindergarten as a positive experience. If the child sees you cry, he or she will automatically wonder why and feel sad. “If momma isn’t happy, nobody is happy!”
The next thing you can do for your child is to ensure he or she can take care of any bathroom or clothing needs. It’s important for the child to feel comfortable on the first day of school, so keep this in mind when deciding what your child will wear. Talk to the child about the daily routine and let him know you will be back to get him after school.
If you are still feeling sad, meet a friend or neighbor for breakfast. They may have experienced similar emotions. For an adult, the start of big school is often more traumatic than for the child. Remember, your child is becoming independent, but they still need you every bit as much—just in a different way. Emotionally, they need your support in their newfound independence and praise for the work they do.
It’s alright to have a pity party—just have it with another adult.
Have a question about childhood development for Ms. Lu? E-mail your questions to email@example.com.