As businesses and schools close their doors, Americans begin the arduous task of transitioning their homes into makeshift offices, schools, diners and daycare centers. Parents assume the role of CEO, sea captain, short-order cook, teacher, nurse and referee. Whereas teenagers have few qualms about self-isolating in the home, younger children are not so easily placated. For those millions of parents with preschool-age children, it may be time to re-zone your house. Your preschool is now open for business.
For parents with degrees in early children education, the upcoming weeks will be full of joy and satisfaction as you spend additional time with your preschooler. For everyone else, the next few weeks may be a challenge in replicating your child’s daily classroom routine.
As a preschool teacher, daycare provider and family support specialist, our book author, Denise Bourgeois-Vance has spent her adult years tending to the needs of numerous preschoolers. “Most parents assume their child’s behavior in a learning environment, such as preschool, would be a direct reflection of what parents normally see at home.” Everyone who had spent more than a day in isolation with their 4-year-old, understands their child’s need for direction and active interaction. Teaching 4-year-olds can be exhausting and challenging.
Be of good cheer. We will reveal a few tips to keep your preschooler learning and engaging during their time off school. By the time you send your child back to school, you may even find this period to be a delightful experience that strengthens the relationship with your child for years to come. At the very least, the time will pass quicker when your child has the same direction they are familiar with at school.
Tip One: Structure your child’s day to mirror their experience at school. Stay close to their normal schedule. Read materials to understand the daily routine of a preschool classroom. Author Denise Bourgeois-Vance’s book, Sophia and Alex’s Go to Preschool, is a great outline to understanding what your child does every day at school. Keeping their normal routine will calm anxiety and reassure you child they are fine.
Tip Two: Feed your child heathy snacks. Apart from keeping their immune system active, nutritious foods keep children in a teachable state of mind. Sugary snacks can release bursts of energy that can disrupt their train of thought and result in a state of physical excitement.
Tip Three: Engage children in a physical activity. Maybe go for a walk or play in the backyard. Lie a rope on the ground and have them jump from one side to the other to expel energy. Find a basket or hat and have them throw soft balls or socks into it.
Tip Four: Teach them something new. Find a website where they can view and learn about various animals they have never seen. Start a dialog about each animal and find instances that help children relate to them. Discuss what they eat, where they live, and how they sound.
Tip Five: Practice what they have already been taught. This re-enforces their knowledge and builds confidence in their outcomes. Have them write or trace their name. Recite the alphabet song or help them count pennies.
Tip Six: Help your child practice good health habits. Have them wash their hands repeatedly with soap and warm water. Read Sophia and Alex Learn about Health to become familiar with health habits in and out of school. Talk with them about keeping their bodies clean and practicing healthy eating habits.
Tip Seven: Provide materials to express their creativity. Sit them at the kitchen table and let them color in books. Give them watercolors to paint and pencils to draw. Make greeting cards and send them to the elderly. Stacking and positioning blocks help children expand their imagination and refine small motor skills.
Tip Eight: Engage in crafts. Plant seeds of grass in a cup and watch them grow over upcoming weeks. Make a necklace with paste shells and have them count the pieces. Make hand puppets out of lunch bags and perform a puppet show.
Tip Nine: Play learning games with them. Make various home-made games. Use Popsicle sticks to write a letter of their name on each stick. Have them arrange the sticks in the same order as the letters in their name. Play board games relevant to their age. Practice good learning habits by avoiding long periods of electronics use.
Tip Ten: Read books to your child. Our web site, www.chldrenbilingualbooks.com provides Sophia and Alex books in 15 languages, designed to teach, entertain and guide your child through their preschool years. We encourage parents to engage their child in our 10-book series. You will find an uplift in your child’s attitude and progress in their mental, emotional and social wellbeing.
Keep safe, keep happy and enjoy this extra time you have with your child.