It’s go time! You were starting to wonder whether we were actually going to get here, weren’t you? I know we’ve done a lot of preparation as we’ve worked through the How to Teach Preschool at Home series, but trust me it will be worth it. Those who take the time to prepare for home preschool in advance often have a much more enjoyable and manageable experience.
Here are a few tips for your first days of home preschool as you transition into your new preschool at home routine.
Tips for Transitioning into Home Preschool
Ease in to your New Home Preschool Routine.
You’ve learned a lot, and I’m sure you’re eager to dive into all the routines and activities you’ve planned.
However, it can be helpful to slowly transition into your new routine.
For example you might start with implementing only half of your day, or you might start with a couple days a week instead of the full week. This gradual pace will help your child adjust (especially if there will be drastic changes to your daily routine), and it can be a little less overwhelming for you as well.
Carefully consider your expectations for the various activities in your routine, and teach them to your child.
Educators often say, “If you want it, teach it.” This applies to both the classroom and home. We wouldn’t expect our kids to know how to brush their teeth properly if we hadn’t modeled and taught them how, the same goes for any routine or expectation in your home preschool day.
If you have quiet time as part of your afternoon, then spend time in the beginning showing your child what that looks like and sounds like and what he or she is allowed to do during that time. Then monitor that time and recognize the things your child is doing well during quiet time and areas that need improvement.
What about read alouds? Teach your child what you expect him or her to do when you are reading a story? Does your child need to sit still with you? Can he or she draw or play with quiet toys while listening?
There are many of these types of routines that will come up as you get started. Taking time to clearly establish these routines in the beginning will save both you and your child a lot of time and frustration in the long-run.
Plans help us stay organized, and they help us cover the content we hope to expose our children to. However, plans can change. If you’re a Type A person like me, this may take a little time to adjust to. But as a parent you know things happen. Someone wakes up “off” and just needs extra snuggles. Or a group of friends is getting together at the park at the last minute. Or everyone in the house gets sick. Things come up. If you’ve put time into planning your home preschool week (and I know you have!), you might feel pressure to fit in all the things you had planned and end up feeling like you’re behind if you can’t quite fit it all in.
During times like these consider the big picture and your “WHY” for home preschooling. Being able to be there for your child when they really need you and the opportunity to go on unexpected outings with friends were probably a part of your “why,” so embrace these opportunities.
It can also be helpful to have some flex time built into your schedule for instances like these. An extra day or week built in at regular intervals can provide a nice cushion.
Follow your child’s lead during activities.
In addition to being flexible with your plan, it’s also important to be flexible with your child. Part of the joy of home preschool is seeing how your child approaches learning differently than you. You might find that you planned an activity you thought would be a lot of fun, but then once you introduce it your child has a completely different take on it or isn’t interested at all.
Maybe you planned a scavenger hunt during a walk outdoors, but your child only wants to look for bugs. That’s okay. She’s still using those early science skills to observe.
Or you thought you’d paint rainbows, but your child is currently enamored with painting flowers. He’s still using those fine motor skills and creativity.
Try not to let these things discourage you. Instead allow your child to approach the activity using his own vision. You’ll likely be inspired by the learning and creativity that develops. This is particularly true of arts and crafts activities. Allowing kids to focus on the process instead of trying to make something look picture perfect is always more meaningful.
If your child continually refuses to do the home preschool activities you have planned, then revisit your child’s learning style and consider how you might work with your child to come up with activities more in line with his or her preferences. Also revisit the routines and expectations you’ve established and be sure your child knows them.
Most days of home preschool are amazing once you are able to sit back and reflect on all that was done in a single day, but there will still be days that are challenging.
Remember to smile more than you frown! It’s good for you, and it’s good for your kids.
In our next and final lesson in this series we’ll take a brief look at modifying your routine and goals as needed and assessing your child’s progress.