for your Preschool Child
By Julie Jenkins Sathe
Author of “ENLIGHTENED DISCIPLINE”
- Begin your child’s day with a healthy breakfast. Avoid quick foods with a high sugar content. Balance carbohydrates with protein by adding peanut butter to a graham cracker or a banana. Stay away from fast food. Really.
- Begin your day and your child’s day fresh. Avoid “left over” arguments from yesterday. Let it go! This is old news and not developmentally appropriate for you to expect your child to even remember yesterday’s news. In addition, you have more to concentrate on than yesterday’s bad news. Move on.
- Be sure your child is dressed comfortably. Ensure that he/she is wearing clothing that focuses less on fashion and more on weather. This means dress him/her in layers with comfort in mind and freedom to be expressive within his/her day.
- Do yourself and the preschool a favor and label your child’s clothing. Even after labeling, don’t send anything to preschool that you love. It’s too great a risk. These clothes are your child’s equivalent to ‘work clothes’.
- Be happy and excited with your child about their school, friends and teachers. It's okay that they are happy to go to school and like the other people there. Parents sometimes feel that they must seem concerned, even worried so their child senses their loss and therefore their love. Phooey! Children want you to be happy; then they will be happy! So why are earth wouldn’t you find happiness in the joy and experiences of their life?
- Be sure to take a few moments to visit your child’s classroom or teacher. This is a very personal time and an intimate inter-relationship. Don’t fall into the trap of not knowing who your child is connecting with and then waiting for something to go wrong before you try to make a connection.
- Volunteer or visit in the classroom or during extra curricular events. Be interested in what your preschooler is trying to share with you. As parents, you are busy and preoccupied with your own job and household routines. Put them away for a few moments. Turn off your cell phone. Quit text messaging. When you are at preschool and with your child before and afterward, be interested in what you preschooler has to share…a new song, a never-ending story….be there. You will enrich both of your lives.
- Ask about the ways that you can add to the preschool program from home: an activity to expand at home or something for your child to bring related to the theme or season. Maybe you can save plastic water bottles for a craft or bring in recycled office envelopes for a new dramatic play office area. It takes so little to add a lot.
- Take time to read the preschool’s lesson plan so that you can better understand what your child is trying to share with you. They haven't the vocabulary of an adult, so use the adult's plan to help you piece it together.
- Be a part of whatever is available to you at school for parents. Perhaps there are parent groups, newsletter photos, articles, work parties or fundraisers. Take photos and send them to the school.
- At home, turn of the TV and just visit each evening before bedtime with your child. Not for hours, just 5-15 minutes. You can do that.
- Turn off the car radio and cell phone on the way home and to school. Sing with your child; listen to their stories, plans, excitement. This time will be gone so quickly.
- Be sure your child is well-bathed, combed with clean teeth and comfortable for a good night’s sleep. This will follow them through their lifetime as the precious, safe time. It will also create for them a vision for how to parent their own children.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you have a few moments each night and every morning to yourself. Make sure your child is safe. Maybe you must wake up early, but make the time. It is well worth it for your peace of mind. Teach your child to understand you require alone time for a hot bath, a warm meal or a good read. Close the door and remember who you are. A better YOU makes a better parent.
- Create boundaries with your child. Permissive or inconsistent parenting is very confusing to a child. Make some simple rules and insist they are followed: Bedtime, bath time, how we eat, what words are used, etc. Read more in Enlightened Discipline (c) creating your personal foundational beliefs.