Thursday, October 17, 2019

Why are they having so many tantrums?

This question came up over and over again at my family it does every year...and I thought I might ramble a bit on this topic...

Families wondered -

Do they tantrum at school?
Every little thing seems to set them off.
They fall apart when they get home.
The smallest thing upsets them!
They'll dig in their feet and refuse to move on, screaming and crying, over and over.
There's been a real uptick in tantrums since school began.
They really don't do this at school?

preschoolers do NOT do this at school.

preschoolers save this for their loving families.

One part of these tantrums is simply due to the adjustment to the school year. It is such a big transition, to be in school all day long, with so many peers, following rules, keeping to expectations, trying to take a nap with twenty peers, going to aftercare with a different set of many new things, so much new learning. Home, where you are assured of love, is the perfect place to fall apart.

(This teacher is certainly thankful that this is mostly the case - children save their tantrums for home!)

My suggestion - make home a soft landing. Try to lessen the expectations on kids, have an easy and predictable routine - maybe some fun exercise together (a walk outside? a dance party?), favorite foods for dinner, a nice bath and some books, early to bed.

Also, ask yourselves how much power does your child actually have? How might you weave a little 'freedom of choice' into their time with you? No, they don't get to make the big decisions, but, can they have a little say on some things? A sure sign that your child needs to have a little more say is when you start having problems in one of three areas: toileting, sleep, or eating. Here, children can assert control and there is very little that you can do about this. If this is happening at your house, think about your daily routine with your child and find ways to relax some part of it - for example, lay out options for lunch and let them choose from these for their lunchbox; same for getting dressed -  keep 'appropriate' choices in their bureau and let them choose what they want to wear. Maybe you have ten minutes to play with them... let them decide WHAT you will play with them and then you follow their every command. This is so satisfying for a preschooler! Such a boost!

In addition to giving them a little say or power in their lives, look for ways to have them help with the household. They want so much to be a part of the action! These are excellent years for cultivating self reliance and responsibility. With your guidance, let them DO real work - set the table for dinner, take their plate to and from the table, push the vacuum...honestly, children are looking to DO.

And, truly, preschoolers CAN DO.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What is nap time like, this year?

The quiet one.
He surprises me by singing loudly, a medley of our classroom jingles:
  • "Everybody's safe, everybody learns, everybody builds the community..."
  • "Find your square and sit right down..."
  • "Big Cats! Let's line up!"
I shush him, reminding him - it is nap time.
"Settle down, hon, it is time for nap. Let's take care of one another. Shush!"

To no avail.

The singing keeps on.

Is it louder?!

I get him up from his cot and walk him outside the classroom, into the hallway. I crouch down, looking at him eye to eye, and remind:

"John, we are quiet at nap. You cannot talk, sing, or be loud at nap."

He asks, "You take me for walk?"

He has seen me do this with others.

Me - "No. We are NOT going for a walk. You are able to be quiet and it's time for you to show me quiet. What will you do - sit and be quiet on your cot, or lie down and sleep and be quiet? Those are your two choices."

"Sit and be quiet," he says demurely, resignedly.

Me - "Okay, good. Let's go back in."

I am so proud of him. I am so proud of me. Yay! Mutual understanding, mutual respect achieved.

We walk quietly to his cot, he sits down, and before I can even walk away, he sings loudly - bellows, really -

"A, B, C, D, E, F, G..."

Sweet cheeses!

Game over.

Preschoolers are powerful beings.

Monday, October 7, 2019

What did I forget?

The weekly note from my principal included a shout out to a very long list of teachers, with the words "A big thank you to the following teachers who completed all their administrative paperwork for the new school year." I scanned the list to see my name - and, ha! Amusingly, my name was NOT on the list.

I just assumed it would be there.

You see - I didn't know I had forgotten to do something.

I thought this was hysterical. I immediately found myself in a weird kind of limbo - aware that I did not complete something, but I had no idea what it is that I hadn't completed.

In addition to all the other to do's on my list, I needed to figure this out.