My life finds me surrounded by my grandchildren. 5 boys, 1 girl. The oldest is 7. It gets a bit crazy. Rather than pining for the day when they are older (I do look forward to all that will bring), I have decided to love each moment I have with them now! Preschoolers are a handful, so here are my thoughts on making the most of each day!
Tips for Mom’s survival
- Consistency (or lack thereof) will make all the difference. Choose your priorities. Stick with them. Mean it when you say it.
- Doing things with them will work ten times better than simply telling them what to do. Teach them how and then teach them again. Together. Often. With love and laughter.
- Now is the time to develop good habits. If left unsupervised, they will develop not-so-good ones.
- Learn about learning styles, stages, and personality types. It will help as you teach them, and as you live together as a family.
- Open-ended play can give you more bang for your buck. Buy toys and books that will grow with them. Enjoy family activities that can expand with them. Grow with them.
- Feed them the good stuff. Limiting sugar and junk food will result in better health, better behavior, and better eating habits.
- Limit screen time. If it involves a screen, limit it. Big ones, small ones, any screen.
- Let them be kids. They will be goofy, foolish, fun, and emotional. It is okay. They really do grow up faster than you think!
- Keep it basic. (There are lots of basics.) If they never learn that basics are important, growing up is much harder! You can’t build on a shaky foundation!
- Give them chores. Age-appropriate, genuinely helpful chores. They can do it. They need to do it. You need the help. Teach them to work. As much as possible, have order in your home.
- Routines are essential.
- Allow them to contribute. As they grow, they should feel needed, and should be taught to do what they can. It is a good feeling. Share it with them while they are still wanting to help!
- Listen to them. Laugh with them. Enjoy them.
- Keep your voice down. The angrier you are, the quieter your voice should be. (I do not know anyone who has perfected this, but it works when I remember.)
- Find a few good friends for them and enjoy limited, supervised play dates. Preschoolers tend to have a “pack” mentality if left to their own devices!
- Sing. A lot.
Tips for academics
- Use real information and vocabulary. They can handle it. And it makes later learning much simpler!
- Fun is important. For you. For them.
- Do not panic. They are preschoolers. College is over a decade away!
- Get your hands dirty. Even harder, let them get their hands dirty.
- Now is the time to develop an interest in the arts. Visual. Music. Theater. Sports.
- Use simple learning materials. If it is too complex for you to learn in an afternoon, don’t use it with your children. Keep is simple, and it will be.
- Let them explore-with supervision, of course.
- Use good literature. Dumbed-down books and other media are everywhere. Be as discerning about what you allow them to see and hear as you are about what they eat.
- Challenge yourself to challenge them. Look for the best, and try different things. If it is too hard, they will let you know. But you may be surprised at what they can and are willing to do!
- Keep it basic. (There are lots of basics.) We have developed this idea that basics are to be skimmed over in order to get to the “good stuff”. Sometimes, the basics are some of the “good stuff”. And they always make the “good stuff” easier to understand, and more enjoyable!
- Use units as much as possible i.e. the human body, the alphabet, mammals, the United States, Fairy Tales. Studying things in ordered groups allow children to order them in their head, and begin to learn how inter-related the world is.
- Make messes-and then clean them up when you are done. Together.
- Sing. More. Learning songs, fun songs, nonsense songs, gospel songs and hymns. Sing.
Enjoy them while they are young! Charles Dickens said, “I love these little people, and it is not a slight thing when they who are so fresh from God love us.” I concur.