In the hours between dropoff and pickup, your child’s world is expanding in a variety of ways as she learns new lessons, makes new friends, adopts new skills, and becomes immersed in the fun, dynamic world of daycare or preschool. And as a parent, you can help to reinforce what your child is learning at home, ensuring that her new skills and developments take root both at school and in her life with her family and friends outside of the classroom.
It’s important to stay on top of the lessons your child is learning in the classroom. Keeping the lines of communication open with your child’s teachers will help you stay on top of what new lessons your child is being taught, whether it’s an introduction to the ABC’s, a unit on weather, a lesson on gardening, or a quick look at the planets in our solar system. While mastery of these subjects may not take place at your child’s young age, remembering to sing the ABC song with him at home, or draw your own pictures of what the planets look like, can be a fun way to help your child retain what he’s taking in during the day.
You’ll want to stay on top of what your child is experiencing, socially, as well. Ask him the names of his closest friends, his frequent playmates, and note how the names change over time. You might find that your preschooler has one best friend who remains consistent throughout the year, or that his small group of buddies is expanding to include even more friends. But be on the lookout for signs that he is having trouble socializing. If he tells you that no one plays with him, or if a good friend all of a sudden becomes a challenge for him, talk with him about how he’s feeling, and speak with his teacher for advice on how to help him make friends or feel more comfortable with the other kids he sees each day.
And of course, keep in regular touch with his teachers to learn about what kinds of challenges your child might be having in general. If he is having trouble with numbers, work with him at home with flashcards and books about counting. If he is having trouble focusing or sitting school, you may want to talk to your pediatrician for advice. And remember to focus on the positive as well! Is there a particular topic he is very interested, like planting and growing? Clear a patch for him to grow in the backyard! Does he excel at athletic activities? Ask him if he’d like to try playing a sport.
Keeping in close touch with your child’s teachers, and having daily conversations with your child about how her day went, what she learned, and how she’s feeling will help you to reinforce the positive lessons she’s learning, while staying abreast of any challenges will allow you to address them proactively.