It’s a new school year! Your kiddos are in a new class with a new teacher and a bunch of new friends! It’s so EXCITING! For each parent though, it can also be a bit more challenging. How do you keep up with their rapid emotional and intellectual growth? Are you working with them on the right skills at home for their age group? Are you providing the best environment at home to help them achieve all their milestones? It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and worried about these things.
Don’t worry! PRLP is here to help! The majority of our teachers have been teaching their age group for years and know exactly what milestones and skills each child needs to achieve at each stage of their younger years. We have asked our teachers to kindly share a few tips and tricks for each age group. You might know quite of few of the tips listed below, but there also might be a few that might surprise you!
Welcoming your new bundle of joy into the world and watching them grow in their first year here is one of the most rewarding parts of parenthood. Before you know it they are rolling, smiling, sitting, teething, clapping and maybe even saying their very first word! Having an infant to care for can be stressful, but all the hard work and long hours are absolutely worth it for your little one. Below are some wonderful tips from some of our teachers for the Infant age (<1)
- Lots of Love! The bond a child forms with their parents in the first year of their life is crucial for their development throughout their childhood. Cuddling, singing, and talking to them in a soothing tone are just a few examples of great ways to bond with your baby!
- Quicker Drop Offs! We know it’s hard to drop off your little one each morning. That is completely normal and we understand! We have noticed throughout the years though that quicker drops offs for babies in the morning actually helped them adjust faster in the classroom.
- Build Their Confidence! Encouraging confidence at home is a great way to help them feel more comfortable in a preschool setting. At home, you can try setting your baby down either on a bouncy chair or an activity mat to break the habit of showing displeasure when they are not held. Set the baby in the chair a few minutes every day till they get used to it. Stay close and pick them up when they seem uncomfortable and start crying. You can do this exercise a few times every day particularly when your baby is happy and well-rested. You may increase the duration gradually.
The 1’s is quite a big year! The development every baby has in this year is tremendous. Starting with rolling over and sitting up to then pulling up to crawling and even walking!
- Try to encourage as much new table food as possible at home! Pouches are very handy and lifesavers at times, but at this stage, trying new table foods/finger foods is great for developing their self-feeding skills.
- Bouncing off of self-feeding skills is table skills! Try to encourage your kiddo to use their sippy cup more and to keep their plate on the table during meals.
- Keeping a similar schedule at home that is used at school! This helps establish a great routine for young babies.
- Support Their Tiny Feet! Having shoes with great support is imperative for helping babies learn to walk.
I know you’ve heard of the “Terrible Two’s”.. We prefer to call them the “Testing Two’s”. At this age, every kiddo is going to test the limits. They are gaining their sense of independence while still learning how to understand and communicate their emotions and thoughts. It can be scary for them, but hopefully these following tips can help them adapt quickly to their rapidly changing world!
- Language! Practicing words and sentences everyday helps them communicate better. Ask about their school day on the car ride home and encourage them to use their words to the best of their ability.
- Provide opportunities for a child to be independent! Let them pick out their own clothes for the day, carry their backpacks, put their shoes away, etc.
- Give them structured choices! Making a choice allows a child to feel in control of a situation. It also benefits their decision making skills!
- Help them understand their feelings when they are frustrated! Sometimes kids will cry and scream because they don’t know how to explain how they are feeling. This takes a lot of patience but it’s so worth it!
What can we not talk about in the 3’s!? So much development and personality comes in the 3’s! They start to notice differences and similarities, follow simple multi-step directions, recognize and empathize with different emotions and even start learning how to solve disagreements with family and friends. This stage of their life has so many opportunities for tremendous growth in communication and independence.
- Positive Affirmations! This has multiple meanings and applications, but overall any encouragement you can give your kiddo for a job well done is great for their confidence and independence!
- Morning Pep Talk! Incorporating words of affirmation and/or positive statements before school each day can literally change the mood and experience of each child for the day. (ex. “I am ready to learn today!”, “I am smart!”, “Today is going to be AWESOME!”, etc.)
- After pick up from school, ask them about their day! What did they learn? Who did they play with today? What art project did they work on? Make sure they know you are excited and proud of them for working hard and having fun at school!
- Give them more responsibility! At this stage of their life they are starting to become little adults! (They start to play house, teacher, mom, dad, firefighter, etc.) Assigning them “adult” chores or tasks for them to complete every day is great for building their confidence and independence! (ex. match socks in laundry, water the plants, feed a pet, etc.)
Welcome to the “Why?” years! Where your child needs more than just an answer, they need to know WHY!? Why is the sky blue? Why do you cry? Why can’t they have another snack? While this can come across as humorous or even agitating at times, kids are just trying to piece together information in order to further their knowledge and make sense of the world.
- Everyday Responsibilities! At this age, it is great to instill a few everyday responsibilities for each child to complete. Examples: Water the plants, put water bottle in backpack every night before bed, help with folding laundry and putting everything away, make their bed every morning, etc.
- Establish a Homework Routine! Finding a routine that works for your kiddo before they start on their homework is a great habit to form as early as possible. Maybe try when they get home: 30 minutes of “me time/playtime” to relax and decompress, a healthy snack and then homework time! A habit like this will benefit them for the rest of their school years and beyond!
- Rewards! A wonderful way to encourage good behavior in school and at home is to follow a consistent rewards system. Ask your teacher what kind of rewards system they follow in their classroom. There are also unlimited ideas/examples of rewards systems for preschoolers on Pinterest.
- Words of Affirmation! The more positive words and emotions you can share with your children, the better! Examples: Have a pep talk before school each morning, let them know how proud you are of their schoolwork and art work each day, compliment them as often as you can, etc.
- Encourage Their Imagination! Whether they are playing dragons, pretending to be ballerinas, trying to draw or paint something new or making up songs/musicals.. play with them! Interact as much as you can with them! Become a part of the story they are telling! They grow up so fast at this age. Enjoy the playtimes as much as you can!
The last step until they embark on their next “Big Kid Adventure” aka elementary school. The skills and knowledge they learn in this school year sets them up for their academic years. PRLP is blessed to have an amazing Kindergarten teacher, Miss Kelly, who is gifted at guiding each child to help them achieve their best! We asked her what three things she would recommend for Kindergarteners. They are listed below:
- Enough Rest! Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health!
- Positive Attitude about School! The best way for a kid to start the school day is with a positive and optimistic attitude! Encourage positive words and optimistic thoughts about school every morning!
- Foster Independence! Set predictable routines.. Let your child choose.. Let your child help.. Give your child chores.. Let your child solve problems.. Encourage projects.. Nurture free play..