When a child is born, joy and apprehensions come along. While one is happy for the gift, there are a lot of questions regarding 'raising the child well' issues, especially, for a first time parent. Even parents who have more than one child, will tell you how each child is a different experience, and what has worked for one, might not for work for the other. Children need to be nurtured and loved deeply to bring out the best in them, and as parents, we want the best for our child. But, what is the best? Is it the toys, clothes, food, best medical care, other comforts, or the attention we give? This is something each parent has to figure out for themselves, with a little help from the tips mentioned below.
10 Tips for Parents of a Preschooler
A preschooler is between the ages of three (two in some states) and five, and attending nursery school, kindergarten, or is being home schooled. When the child is ready to move onto this phase, even the parents need to be ready.
Happy Child: A child going to preschool suffers from the same separation pangs that a parent feels. But unlike a parent, the child cannot reason out the cause. Hence, ensure that the child is relaxed before sending him off to school. Except for a few bad days, get him/her up on time, and spend time getting them ready. Do not rush the child. Try to set nighttime sleep patterns and fix a light out time. Make sure your child does not skip breakfast, and take effort to ensure a clean appearance. Habits inculcated at this stage will stay throughout their life.
Mental Preparation: Mentally prepare the child everyday to go to school. Talk to them, and understand that they cling to you before leaving, because they would rather spend the time with the parent. Most educators at preschool will tell you that the child tends to 'forget the parent' once he/she gets to school, this is because children revel in the company of other children and get busy learning and experiencing new things. But, they do miss their parents. So talk to the child about the good times that lay ahead, emphasize on being happy.
Surprise the Child: Children love surprises. Surprise them with something interesting in their school bag. Gift wrap it, and be sure to get a 'sunshine smile' when they see you. Prepare their favorite dishes once in a while to surprise them. Pick him/her up early from school (with prior permission), and take your kid for a fun ride. The idea is always to let the child know that even though he/she is at school, they are missed.
Teach through Exhibited Behavior: Children aren't called 'monkeys' for nothing. They will imitate your behavior to the hilt. And for unknown reasons they are more tuned to bad habits than the good ones. Hence, all you do will be part of their learning experience. Politeness, cleanliness, good food habits, discipline, honesty, and even admitting to mistakes and apologizing will be best understood by children if you as a parent set an example by practicing first and preaching later.
Civic Sense: Teach your child from an early age about being responsible for their own safety. Not crossing the street without adhering to the traffic lights, running or crossing streets or rail tracks alone, check their play equipment at home, school or the park, never leave them in the pool by themselves, and teach fire safety and drill. Child psychologists recommend that a preschooler should be watched at all times, without stifling their space. Teach them that being cruel to animals is not 'cool'.
Show Interest: Show interest in your child with a full heart and mind. Spend time with them by being present physically, emotionally, and mentally. Stop and listen to your child as they share their experiences. There is so much that enchants them, that they are usually bursting with information, repetitive in most cases (and annoying too). Answer questions patiently and more importantly, correctly (very difficult to follow, I know). Play games with children, as along as you interact with them they will be happy.
Productive Time: Too many children spend too much time in front of the television, munching on unhealthy foods. If this is the scenario in your house, you can't really blame the child. As a parent you switched on the television, and at times you gave in to the tantrum. Nurture love for books and reading, take your kid to the bookstore, introduce him/her to a library. Promote other hobbies like gardening, painting, etc. Let the child do simple chores like setting up the table, helping in grocery shopping, etc. Encourage outdoor and indoor activities by encouraging the child to play with other children. Teach him/her to value friends. Make an effort to know all their friends.
Accepting Failures: Children before the age of five are extremely vulnerable to being compared, and have a negative effect when criticized too often. Although, disciplining and teaching the difference between right and wrong is very essential, getting carried away as a parent is not right. Teach your child that making mistakes or being a non-achiever in some spheres of life is perfectly okay. Teach them to accept failures and work around them. Although young, they will catch on fast. For example, at a preschool age tell your child that writing his/her 'ABCDs' perfectly should not be the only aim, but also to understand the concept of writing. Making mistakes should not be a hindrance in the way of the happy learning process.
Independence: The age of two to six is an exploring age for your child. It is like they want to break the boundaries, but at the same time are intimidated at the thought of doing something independently. Allow them to solve their own problems, even if it is fighting with a peer or just some mistake while performing an activity like painting or clay modeling. There is a very thin line between helping them and jumping at every chance to correct them, and worse - redoing their work.
Safety Aspects: Child abuse and pedophilia are not an uncommon occurrence, and all children irrespective of their age or gender are vulnerable to this menace. Hence, it is very important to keep talking to the child. Engage in role play in regards to the child's activities especially, ones that take place in your absence. As a parent you have to create an atmosphere where the child can be honest with you without the fear of a reprimand. Although kids do not understand the concept of 'good touch' and 'bad touch', they are intuitive to it. If you keep the door open, your child will definitely walk in with their troubles. Interaction with strangers should be taught in coordination with the school's teachings.
And bear in mind that a few mistakes made by a parent are okay as long as the child is not affected negatively. Always be alert to sickness, but do not become a hypochondriac. Don't forget to attend the PTA and take part in the child's school activities. I hope these tips will be of help. If you have more tips to make the children happier and independent, feel free to share.