Tips from Preschool TeachersMarch 7, 2019
Does your child behave better at preschool than they do at home? This week, our tip is adapted from Parents Magazine. They asked five preschool teachers (with a combined 90 years of experience!) for some tips for parents of 2 – 5 year olds.
Most people have a way of living up (or down) to expectations — preschoolers included. “At school we expect the kids to pour their own water at snack, to throw away their plates, to hang up their jackets — and they do,” says Jennifer Zebooker, a teacher at the 92nd Street Y Nursery School, in New York City. “But then they’ll walk out of the classroom and the thumb goes in the mouth and they climb into strollers.” Raise the bar and your child will probably stretch to meet it.
Even though it might be faster for you to do all of your child’s tasks, that won’t help make your child more self-sufficient. Quick hint: Appeal to her sense of pride, suggests Donna Jones, a preschool teacher at Southern Oregon University’s Schneider Children’s Center in Ashland, Oregon. “Whenever I’m trying to get kids to dress, put jackets on, sit on chairs during meals and so on, I’ll ask them: ‘Do you want me to help you or can you do it yourself?’ Those words are like magic,” promises Jones. “The kids always want to do it for themselves.” And if it’s not quite up to your standards, resist the temptation to redo what they’ve done.
Establish Predictable Routines
Kids cooperate in school because they know what’s expected of them, says Beth Cohen-Dorfman, educational coordinator at Chicago’s Concordia Avondale Campus preschool. “The children follow essentially the same routine day after day, so they quickly learn what they are supposed to be doing, and after a while barely need reminding.” While it would be impractical to have the same level of structure at home, the more consistent you are, the more cooperative your child is likely to be, suggests Cohen-Dorfman. Decide on a few routines and stick to them: Everyone gets dressed before breakfast. When we come in from outside, we wash our hands. No bedtime stories until all kids are in jammies. Eventually, following these “house rules” will become second nature to your child.
Preschool teachers said over and over that kids today are less able to play imaginatively than kids of a decade or two ago. “Too much of their day is structured in supervised activities,” says Haines. The antidote: Get comfortable saying “Go play.” It’s not your job to see that your child is entertained 24/7. Let her get a little bored. But make sure she has items like dress-up clothes, paint and paper, a big cardboard box, and play dough.
To view the complete article from Parents Magazine, please click here.