Pressure to send your child to a preschool is strong, but if something inside wonders if it is really best, listen to that gut feeling. Here is where you should look logically at the situation. Kindergartens were begun to prepare children for first grade. Fine. Then preschools were started because many women worked outside the home and needed child care but also this has been purported to prepare children for kindergarten. If this logic follows, then no parent is even qualified to “prepare” a toddler for preschool.
Children do not “need” to be around other children constantly. Carefully choose the playmates and amounts of time your child spends with peers. Good parents are the best teachers and role models at this age. A room full of two-year-olds teaching each other how to act like two-year-olds is the way to train a child toward adulthood. Do you want your child acting more like a child or moving toward acting and behaving like an adult? The thinking that the purpose of childhood is to absorb peer influence like a sponge denigrates the role of the parent.
Make your home a loving, warm place. Teach your child good habits and read quality books, not watered down twaddle with language, characters and plots that will bore both of you . Get out of the house and be with other people of all ages and take time for field trips. Siblings can learn to get along with one another and can be trained to help around the house. We have too many helpless people already. Whatever you do you can involve your child and teach what you know as well as the basics of colors, ABCs, number concepts, and so on.
Art projects and science experiments at this age can be fun to do in the kitchen with a small group of friends followed by play time afterwords and a snack. Natural learning and exploring the world as a family will keep your stress level down. Children who maintian consistent adult relationships and predictable routines will be less prone to stress-induced disorders such as ADHD and the like.
Keep the television and computer time to nil at this age. So many books have been written on this subject. Check these out at the library: Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Children’s Minds and What We Can Do About It by Jane Healy, Endangered Minds:Why Children Don’t Think and What We Can Do About It by Jame Healy, The Dumbest Generation:How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Futureby Mark Bauerlain. What to do instead? Anything that engages your child in activity that encourages movement of large muscles or reading, thinking, and writing.
Make library trips a weekly event. Start with Caldecott Award books and don’t forget to check out preschool arts and crafts books. With these in hand you will have the beginning tools to be your child’s best preschool teacher, and fun-loving mom. After a few weeks, you’ll be giving your friends advice.
Copyright 2009 Susan Franklin