My son recently started pre-K and I’m amazed by how preschool teachers manage to maintain order and efficiency with a bunch of active preschoolers; I tend to have the opposite situation going on at home with just two kids! Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned some great principles from his teacher that I’ve started to implement in my own casa. Here, the lessons I’ve learned; they might help you, too!
1. Teach your child to celebrate his own successes. Yes, you should celebrate your child’s successes, but the next time he accomplishes something (like dressing himself), ask him why he is proud of himself. My kid gets praised all the time, from familia and friends, but teaching him the value of his own self-worth is just as important.
2. It’s OK to break the “rules” at mealtime. My son is a picky eater and I struggle to get him to eat different foods. For example, he’ll only eat mac ‘n’ cheese or grilled cheese for lunch. His teacher suggested giving him breakfast (he likes pancakes) for lunch just to switch things up and get him used to the idea of having a different meal at lunchtime, but one that he knows and likes.
3. Let your kid do the “hard” stuff on his own. I used to do “tricky” things like zipping up my son’s jacket, because it was just easier for me to do it. I also wanted to avoid tantrums. Now, he’s learning how to do things for himself at school and this process doesn’t come without tears or meltdowns when he gets frustrated. But rather than getting frustrated, too, I’ve learned to sit with him and teach him what to do, so that he can figure it out for himself (skills he will use later in life!), regardless of how long it takes.
4. Empower her to make her own decisions. At school, my son gets “Choice Time;” he can choose to do a number of different activities, such as blocks or puzzles. So, I give him the opportunity to make more decisions at home. At night, for example, he can choose to practice his language skills, work on counting, or draw.
5. Set a good example. When I pick up my son from school, he is instructed to get up from his chair, take his backpack from the back of his chair, and then push his chair in. He follows this rule every single day. I’ve started to take notice of my own habits at home. For instance, when we get home I usually throw my coat over the stroller rather than taking the time to hang it up in the closet. To help reinforce his good behavior and manners at home, I’ve started to take the time to hang up my coat and place my purse in the closet. By doing this, I’m teaching my kid that I follow rules, too!
6. Give your kid advance notice. My son’s teacher outlines events of the day by putting up visuals on a wall of their days activities. She alerts the kids before asking them to change activities. So rather than switching gears abruptly at home, which I’m totally guilty of doing, I’ve learned to alert my kid or give him a timeframe of the change that will occur (like a 5-minute warning before we leave the park). As a result, he’s a lot more cooperative!
More Mom Confessions:
- Why I Like Being a Working Mom
- My Son Is a Fashionista (& We Have Outfit Battles Every Day)
- Why I Want My Son to Be Bilingual