06 September 2023

How to prepare your child for preschool

Starting preschool is a big milestone for both your child and you. Learning to spend time apart can be a difficult transition, but beginning the formal learning journey is exciting too. Here are tips to help make the transition to preschool a smooth one.  , 1. Visit together, If you are able, plan to go to your child’s new school together before their first day. Play on the playground together and explore the classroom. This way, when they start on day one, school will be a familiar place.  , 2. Play school together at home, Use pretend play to help your child get used to the idea of preschool. Take turns acting out different routines like story time, singing songs and nap time. You can also switch up the roles and let your child be the teacher. This will help your child think of school as a fun place and reduce anxiety on day one.  , 3. Turn getting-ready skills into a game, Practice fastening buttons and zippers, putting on a backpack and hanging a coat or jacket on a hook. You could turn putting on shoes into a game – see how fast you can do it!  , 4. Share your experience, Tell your little one stories about when you first went to school, how you felt and special memories you made. If you can, find preschool photographs of yourself or other trusted adults your child knows and talk about them together.  , 5. Create a new routine, Start practicing the new bedtime and wake-up time your child will need for preschool several weeks before school actually starts – pick a bedtime that will provide a good night’s rest and a wake-up time early enough so neither of you have to rush in the morning. This will give both of you time to adjust. If you are able, you could even start a new…, 6. Listen to your child, Ask your little one about their feelings about going to school and reassure them that it is normal to feel excited, worried or any other emotions. Starting something new can feel scary and big – but it can also be lots of fun! Reassure your child that you will be there to pick them up at the end of the day and talk about what those routines will…, 7. Have a good-bye plan, Saying goodbye can be difficult for both you and your child! When that time comes, try to keep your parting quick and positive – reassure your child that you will see each other again soon. You can even have a special routine that will help comfort your child: sing a song together or do a special handshake.
13 August 2021

Is my child regressing due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Most children have a very strong urge to move forward in their development. However, along with the excitement of being able to do new things comes stress. This stress can cause regression: temporary steps back in development. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the crisis of care and learning. With the disruption of school, playdates with…, What regression are you seeing among children during the COVID-19 pandemic?, I’ve been seeing a lot of regression and more than what, in typical times, is developmentally appropriate. I’ve seen children regressing through using baby talk, needing help with routines, needing help with sleeping and toileting – and much more than what’s usual for them. Coping with and expressing strong feelings can be really challenging, so…, Some parents are seeing tantrums in their teenagers. How should they respond?, Support them to figure out ways to regulate their emotions – going for a walk, running, deep breathing, drawing, painting. Find ways for them to be in touch with friends and family. However, they will not be able to use any of these strategies during the tantrum. Once regulated a parent can say, “You were really upset. I wonder what is going on.”…, Other parents are noticing that their toilet-trained toddlers are now wetting the bed. What would you recommend to them?, This can be a very typical regression. Notice whether there are changes at home or school that may be impacting this. If it is something that may be making your child feel anxious, you can work to support your child. At this age, it might be helpful to have them put on a pull up/diaper for sleeping. Keep track of your child’s fluid intake and…, Many children are being affected by the disruption to their ‘normal’ school setting, childcare, play and/or learning environment. What would you recommend to parents who are dealing with this at home?, We know that children often do or emulate what their caregivers do, so I think parents need to find supports around managing their own stress as this can ultimately help their children’s wellbeing. My children are grown up, and I cannot imagine having to juggle what parents with growing children are doing now! They are having to help with virtual…, Many parents worry about their children catching up after the pandemic. Do you think children can catch up?, I do not have the ability to predict this. By staying hopeful and appreciating children’s natural curiosity, motivation and resilience, I would say yes, they will. In the meantime, read to your children and find ways to be together. Think and talk about what is going on outside. Play together and try to learn and grow together. Always remember the…, What advice would you give to parents right now?, Hang in there! We’re all doing the best we can. Not everyone parents in the same way, so do not compare yourself to other parents or your children to other children. You know what your values are, you know what you want for your children. We’re doing what we need to get through this. Nancy Close, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Yale Child…