All the preschool kids who are independent, throw your hands up!
Another milestone is about to commence as your little one enters the preschool world. This is the time for parents to learn how to scaffold…slowly letting go and letting the child decide to do activities with little guidance or better yet, independently. Here are some tips on how you can slowly increase your child’s independence in preschool, which you can start doing at home.
Create a schedule
Having a well-established routine gives your child the idea of what will happen next and what he needs to expect in his day, thus, making him feel more confident and safe. He will eventually learn that there is time for waking up, taking a bath, eating meals and reading books. If you do this early on, your child will easily adjust to the school’s schedule.
Raise a healthy eater
The more that your child enjoys eating greens and all things healthy, the more that his body will be ready to adapt to a new environment. Expose him to different kinds of cuisines. Pack healthy snacks for him to munch on during recess and make sure to practice healthy eating at home as well.
Encourage an active learner
You can start by reading books and challenging him with open-ended questions like “Where do you think the sun is hiding when it’s bedtime?”. If you have a Curious George on your hand, who throws you thousands of questions a day, don’t shut off the idea by giving him short answers. Instead, look for the answers together to involve your child in the learning process.
Read more: Our Top Book Picks By Age: From 4 to 14+
Practice divergent thinking
Let them “think outside the box”. No toys in his aunt’s place? No problem! Give your child household items he can play with like a box and strings. Instead of throwing tantrums and asking for toys, he becomes resourceful and confident to solve little problems independently.
Assign simple chores
Ask your child to pack away his toys after playing or putting his shoes on the shoe rack. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and responsibility knowing that they are able to help at home. It’s like forming a habit, which they will eventually bring to school.
Let your child make mistakes
This is the trial and error phase. Kids are allowed to make mistakes. They will learn that for every action, there is an equal consequence.
Let’s be honest, it will be a challenge to exercise independence at this stage but if we expose them to self-confidence early on, then the rewards will be more evident as you see your kids grow into being responsible and confident human beings. Take note that preschool is not a place for competition. Before academic achievements, the school environment puts more emphasis on developing one’s socio-emotional skills and that is what we should support and model at home as well.
Good luck, mamas!
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 27, August 2017 by Kat Castañeda and updated in February 2020.