Welcome back to school!
At the Preschool this week, we’ve had our Meet & Greet and Open House, and now we’re having our first days of school. Your sweet children are trying out new things, making friends, and discovering classroom routines. For some this is the first time they’ve been away from Mom during the day, and for others the Preschool is a familiar place.
But one thing we’re hearing from lots of moms is this: “We’re still figuring out our routines!” If that’s you, you’re in good company! We’re all getting our routines back during these back-to-school weeks.
Getting into a good routine after the summer months can be a relief and a challenge. Here are a few things I have found helpful over the years.
Create good routines. Humans are creatures of habit. Our brains are pattern-seeking and this is especially true of our preschool aged children – who have little control over their world and find great safety and comfort in predictable routines and predictable expectations for process and behavior.
Having a well-defined morning and evening routine helps a child feel in control, able to find calm and engage in the process with positivity. While your child may initially resist a new school night routine coming off of summer, your consistency will help to make this adjustment faster and more effective.
Along with the consistent expectations, have fun and silly times with your child. Humor is great medicine!
Be patient. Your child will most likely feel more tired while they get used to the routine of school and you may experience more tears or melt downs at home as they adjust. Don’t panic. This will pass! As we can attest as adults, change can be challenging. Have patience with your child, hug them, reassure them that they are loved and you are so proud of them.
Your child needs plenty of rest. Your three- or four-year-old needs between 10-13 hours of sleep per 24 hours. As we all know, when we are sleep deprived it is more difficult to make good choices with a good attitude. Give your child the gift of good rest and set them up for success.
Leave lots of margin in your day and stay calm. Build in some extra time around your morning and evening activities. Giving yourself a buffer of time means the routine of getting ready to leave the house or go to bed does not feel rushed or stressful.
Children have very little understanding of time. You may realize that you are running late but be aware your child is not ruled by the clock and the process of getting ready and taking responsibility at an age appropriate level for their belongings and dressing etc…is very important.
If you are a few minutes late it’s ok!
Give your children choices. If you’ve been around the Preschool very long, you’ve probably heard us talk about Conscious Discipline. Here’s a Conscious Discipline technique that works: give your children choices within the directive you have given. “It’s time to get ready for bed. Would you like to wear your red PJ’s or your blue ones?”
Having a choice means that they feel some control over their personal world, but having a limited set of choices means that you are still guiding the process in the right direction.
Utilize your car time. It’s Northern Virginia….there is traffic! Some days it takes a long time to go a short distance. Rather can considering car time a waste of time or a deep irritation consider utilizing this time productively:
- Listening to an audio book. Listening to recorded children’s stories is a great way to engage in good reading material and gives you time to talk about the plot, the characters and the feelings expressed in the story.
- An “I spy” or “Simon says” game. Ask your child “What can you see that is blue?” “What can you see that makes a noise?” and allow your child to create and ask you questions too.
- Sing songs together. Create play lists of your favorite children’s songs, worship songs, bible verses to music, motion songs etc…
“How was your day?” Typically, children are not forth coming when you ask them about their day. Consider asking specific questions rather than just, “How was your day?”
Depending on the personality of your child they may need some time to internally process their day before they can share with you. It’s helpful to greet your child with a big hug and an “I love you!” before questioning them.
Here a few different open-ended questions you could ask to create a conversation about their day.
- “What made you smile today?”
- “Did anyone cry?”
- “Did you sing a song today?”
- “Who did you play with today?”
- “What did you like eating today?”
- “What made you feel happy today?”
- “Was there anything that was hard or sad today?”
- “Were any of your friends not there today?”
- “Did anyone help you today?”
- “What was your job today?”
We will be unpacking some of these topics in more detail over the next few blogs. Please reach out to us if you have any topics that you would like for us to write about. We are so glad to have your children here. Keep Calm and carry on!