Week 1: What’s for lunch?
Starting preschool can be a stressful time for our youngsters. There is a new routine to adapt to, new faces, smells, sights and sounds; it’s no wonder they can become a bit overwhelmed at times! Letting your new preschooler pick out their own lunch can not only encourage independence, but it can also inject a bit of predictability and familiarity into their day. Of course, when given the world as their oyster, little ones can tend to get a bit carried away at times. So why not give them 2-3 options to choose from to put into their lunchbox each day? You might even like to help your youngster come up with their own shopping list of 3 or so items they can be responsible for on your weekly grocery trip!
Week 2: I can pack my own bag!
Settling into a new routine can make for an interesting challenge both for parents and youngsters alike. Starting preschool is a big step towards achieving more independence for our little ones and there are many ways that we can help build their self confidence at this time.
Getting your little person to pack their own bag for preschool is a great way to boost their confidence and gain independence through a new found sense of achievement. If we’re honest though, many of us wouldn’t trust our little cherubs to remember all of the important things that they need to pack on a daily basis. So, how can we help avoid the frustration of forgetting important possessions without taking away our youngsters’ independence? Make a list! Kids love visuals so why not take a photo of 3-5 important items that they’ll need each day (ie hat, lunchbox and water bottle) and stick the list somewhere prominent to jog their memory!
Week 3: Open the vault!
With all the preparations and planning that go into starting a fresh year of preschool, it’s no surprise that can find ourselves waiting with bated breath for any news on how our little one’s day has panned out. One of the most frustrating responses we can be met with on the trip home from preschool is, “good” or “I don’t know”. Sometimes finding out even the smallest detail can feel like extracting teeth! Something that we often forget is that as adults, we are the ones who lead the interactions with our little ones. What this means is that a general, non-specific question such as, ‘how was your day?’ in turn will likely elicit a general, non-specific response like ‘good’ or ‘I don’t know’. So let’s get specific! Why not ask 2-3 open-ended, specific questions like, “who did you sit next to at lunch today?” and “what was the story about today in reading time?” to help guide your youngster’s responses and stimulate more meaningful conversation today!
Week 4: Planning pickup
Children thrive in routine. In fact, one of the biggest causes of stress for little ones starting preschool is the dramatic change in almost all elements of their previous routine. It’s human nature to gravitate towards things that are predictable and familiar. Typically, the two most stressful parts of a regular day at preschool are pick up and drop off. The two types of responses that we’re met with at pick up are typically either reluctance or relief. The reluctant child is in the middle of enjoying an activity with their new found friends and very unhappy to finish up and leave. Whereas the relieved child has felt totally abandoned and wondered whether you were ever going to come! So what can we do to pry away the reluctant child or ease the anxiety of the relieved child? Find out your preschool’s routine! Have a conversation with your little one about what activities occur before pick up and increase their familiarity of their preschools routine so that they can achieve a stronger sense of familiarity and better adapt to their new routine.
Written by Grace,
Newcastle Speech Pathology