As a preschool teacher for many years, I have learned a lot about young children and their habits. After spending so much time in the classroom with them, I began to recognize specific patterns and characteristics. Preschool is about learning how to behave in a classroom and I agree that kids should be allowed to have fun and play freely. However, there are a few things that would not only make preschool less stressful for the student and teacher, but it would also make your life at home easier with your child.
Don’t stick around at morning drop off
I know you think that lingering will help your child and you with the separation that you are about to face, but I can promise you that it will not. Your child calms down pretty quickly after you leave when we can distract them with other activities. The longer you linger, the harder it becomes for them to move forward with the day. It is also upsetting to the other children who may miss their parents, because seeing you reminds them of their sadness.
Read to your child
You would not believe how many kids have never sat to listen to a story. Reading to your child is one of the easiest and most influential things you can do for them. You not only teach them to calmly sit and listen when you read a book, but you are teaching them to have an imagination. With a daughter in Elementary school, I can tell you that they have a TON of reading assignments in their future, so this is an excellent time to teach them that reading can be fun!
I can do it myself
I have been there and I can agree it is much easier to just dress your child yourself and get out the door. However, later when they begin school, many of the children do not know how to do things for themselves. It could be as simple as putting on their backpack, opening a reusable water bottle, or putting on their shoes. It may not be a big deal to do such simple tasks for your own child, but when you have 15 preschool children in a class, it can become time consuming. Their ability to do things independently also gives young children a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
Insist that your child sits for meals
Some days this may not seem like a battle you want to wage, but it makes a huge difference in the children’s lives. Again, when you have 15 kids in the class and none of them can stay in their chair for snack or lunch, you can imagine the chaos that ensues. Not only will you be making life easier for your child’s teacher, but it will also make for a more pleasant meal with your child for special occasions and at restaurants.
Let your child get used to going to the restroom in public
It seems each year I always have a child that is afraid to use the potty in public. This makes life super complicated for everyone when you do not try to find a solution. I have had parents that carry potties in their cars, so if they are out, they can take the child to the car. My daughter was afraid of going to the restroom when she was little because of the loud flushing sound, but I knew we had to solve that issue, so we made a plan for us to cover her ears when the toilet would flush. We had a little girl in my class a couple of years ago that was afraid of multiple things. We bought her a potty seat so that the large toilet wouldn’t be so scary and I taught her to cover her ears as well. Preschool teachers do not mind working with your child in these ways, but we need you to help at home.
It’s okay to say the word ‘no’
Many times in your child’s life they will hear the word ‘no’. I understand you not wanting to upset them, but when Johnny is about to cut Susie’s hair, no is the first word that comes to my mind and mouth. I have had many students who do not understand or even care when I tell them no. Children have to have boundaries, they do not automatically understand the difference between right and wrong. So, despite your dislike of the word, I will tell your child no and provide them with an explanation.
Encourage them to communicate
I cannot stress how important it is for your child to be able to talk to me. I love to hear what kids have to say, it’s usually hilarious or profound. But, if they need something, I need to know so that I may help them. It can be scary to talk to teachers, I’m sure, but try to encourage them at home to understand we are there to love and help them.
Socialize your child
When I was younger, most kids did not go to daycare, or even preschool, but now many children are in day programs starting at a very young age. My niece stayed home until she was 4 and when she started school she did not know how to interact with the other children. Kids say harsh things to one another, as a teacher you try to prevent and remedy the heartache, but we can’t control everything. It is best for your child to know how to socialize before they are thrust into an entirely new situation on their own.
Just remember, that we really love your children. When you spend a significant amount of time taking care of a child, and start learning all of their quirks, you begin to love them as your own. It’s difficult to remember that you are not their parent, but just their caretaker. I have less than a year to get to know these wonderful children, but my greatest hope is that they are not only successful in school, but are successful in life.
*In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).
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