BACK TO SCHOOL
It can be hard for your child to return to school or in some new learners’ cases, to start school. After a break, your child might be more out of routine and unprepared for school than you realize.
As a teacher, I am sharing tips from parents and the classroom that WORKS for the toddler and preschool child. I had the privilege of working with some amazing and understanding parents. I feel like many teachers wish they can communicate this to parents, as this would really be helpful to their situation.
“To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely. A child is passing through a period of self-realization, and it is enough simply to open up the door for him.”
Here are 10 TIPS to help moms:
Visit the school often before school starts.
Drive by and make sure your child is mentally prepared to return, otherwise it might come as a shock to them when they have to return and be “taken away” from mommy or daddy.
Get to know the teacher
If you haven’t already, you really need to! If your child is new at the school, make sure when you sign up that there is an opportunity for your child to meet their teacher before they start in the classroom. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming to be in a classroom with many other learners without having met the teacher first.
Talk about school often
Many parents refer to the school as “Ms …’s class” or “the froggy class” (whichever applies better to your child’s new class. It might be hard for your child in the beginning to transition to a new environment, but by helping to prepare them emotionally and talking about school, their friends and the teacher, will go a long way. It also helps you to identify if there are possible issues. Please don’t ask your (not-speaking-yet) toddler: “is the teacher doing..?” Chances are they will say yes or nod yes to everything. Rather ask them open-ended questions like: “What did you do today?”, “Who are your friends?”, “How…”, “When…”, so that they can respond without being influenced by your question.
Allow your child to bond with the teacher
Leave after you dropped them off. Saying goodbye can be hard, but staying with your child until they are “calmed down”, will only make it harder on them. Not only will it make it harder for them to transition to the classroom environment, but also distress their peers and make it harder for the teacher to deal with.
Start mornings with a routine
Make time for breakfast. There is nothing worse than a cranky toddler wanting a snack when they walk into the classroom. Make sure you allow time in the routine for breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, putting on shoes, packing their lunch and to say goodbye to daddy. If your child struggles with daily routines, have a visual schedule in their bedroom (or the kitchen) for them to keep track of how their routine for the day will go. Make sure your routines at home corresponds with the routines at your child’s school. I compiled a great DAILY SCHEDULE that you can download for free when you subscribe to my page HERE.
Always follow the same routine as much as possible and be on TIME. In being consistent with a routine, your child is able to be on time for morning routines in the classroom. Many kids are always late and are missing out on tremendous learning opportunities when I have my morning circle time, or shared storybook reading and teaching new vocabulary to them. This will not only help the teacher, but help your child’s development. Be consistent and follow through with what you tell your child. Don’t tell your child something and not follow through with it: whether it be pickup time, discipline or a promised reward.
Never sneak away
This does not build trust between you and your child. Even though your child might cry and have a hard time saying goodbye, always keep goodbyes prompt and positive by responding with: “mommy has to go to work, love you, bye!” or “mommy will get you after nap” or “mommy will always come back”. Sometimes the teacher wants to ask a quick question or request something, and parents already left!
Pack a nutritious lunch
There is nothing worse than seeing a child eat only pepperoni and cheese bits everyday for 8 months. Nutrition is crucial to brain development, especially at their growing age. Make sure you have ample portions of protein (e.g. meat, nuts, eggs and cheese), fresh fruit and/or vegetables (e.g. berries, bananas, carrots, apples) and perhaps a treat, like yogurt (please limit their sugar intake as much as possible). I hate seeing only Goldfish crackers, Crustables, PopTarts and other processed or sugar-filled foods as their main lunch.
I cannot emphasize the short- and long term benefits enough when it comes to raising an independent child. Independence means a child needs to learn to do things by themselves without the adult doing it for them. Children would still need help with tasks, of course, but there is a difference of putting a child’s shoes on for him/her, and helping a child who has tried and struggles. Some children get away with: “but I can’t”, or “it’s hard” without even trying. Encourage them by saying: “okay, I need to see you try first by yourself”. You will be amazed at what those little bodies can do if you just let them!
Nothing builds parent-teacher relationships faster (and better) than working together towards one purpose: doing what is best for your child. As a teacher, I always have the best intention at heart for all my students. Sometimes, parents struggle to understand that we have a class filled with 14 different kids, with 14 different personalities, with 14 different frame of references and 14 different parental desires to treat their child. By taking the time to email the teacher to explain which strategies work at home, might help your child to transition to their classroom environment quicker and better. Teachers have their hands full, but take the time to get to know your child individually and nothing works better magic than supporting your child’s teacher and working WITH (and not against) their teacher. The positive feedback you will receive will be so worth it.
What can you do?
Start with something. Any change is good and beneficial to your child. By working on one thing at a time- be it independence, or establishing a routine, this will really benefit both you and your child.
A structured and routinized environment provides the feeling of safety and security to your child. Children need this to mature emotionally and to be comfortable in the environment they are in. You are fostering the environment they are in.
One last thing…
Remember, teachers put so much heart and soul into your child’s development. It won’t hurt to show a little love and appreciation to their teacher! When you are at work and see all your clients throughout the day, remember that your child’s teacher is playing a crucial role in their cognitive development, fostered within a loving environment. Collaborate with teachers to form the building blocks for your child’s future, because teachers care! If you would like to avoid those terrible two’s, click here to get my FREEBIE on daily schedules. Terrible two’s are only terrible because they cannot express their needs or communciate. Let this FREEBIE help you!
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