Some of the best dictionaries online give several definitions to the word “PRESCHOOLER” and one among them is “Children who are no longer babies but are not yet old enough to go to school”. But when you have a preschooler at home, there are some amusing definitions you know
- They know everything, yes EVERYTHING.
- They know what is sharing, but not necessary to share, yes they know when and what to share.
- They have a separate dictionary, where Band-Aids are not only for deeper cuts but are fancy stickers. Where mess and play mean the same.
- They are bosses with NO’s and WHY’s
I still remember teaching my kid about hockey-stick when he was two years, He didn’t accept the picture for a hockey stick and kept calling it an umbrella while I repeated it as hockey-stick and explained to him what, where and why it is used several times. He was annoyed as to why his mom was teaching things wrongly. So that is why teaching these little “grownup babies” needs lots of patience, determination and a healthy mind. And it’s rightly said they are not ready for the formal school.
So, Why and When Preschool?
This is an important question that parents should ponder on and learn to connect to the child. When a child goes to the formal school, every school forces some rules or expectations on kids. First and foremost is, the child should be able to do all the work, especially taking care by himself/herself and no help will be provided.
Even during the schooling age, we can see kids struggle to tie their shoe-laces, carry their bags, take care of themselves, eat and keep back the empty lunch boxes back to the bag, keeping their book safe and especially the stationary case, We could still see parents telling the high school kids to bring their stationaries safely back home.
When this is the case of the grownups, imagine the tiny tots going to school. A toddler joins the preschool, not that he has to study and score marks. Sometimes the children need someone to take care of their little ones and teach social skills and discipline and set their behavioral issues right. Preschools generally accept kids in the age group of 2- 4yrs.
How to make the child listen?
So back to the legendary question, now, let me tell the famous quote that I remember before going to the answer.
“Tell me, and I will listen; teach me, and I’ll remember; involve me, and I will learn.”
— Benjamin Franklin
The generic teaching method as applicable to other grown-up children will not help with preschoolers. These little buds need a lot of colorfully co-ordinated resources, music, fun activities to build their behavioral skills and develop their fine motor skills. Here are the few ideas to help your preschooler listen to you while teaching.
Understandable language it the key
Children lose interest in any communication when they don’t understand what’s being talked about. Make sure you talk in their language, they can easily understand and can make them think and act better. The language and thoughts you communicate should easy and understandable. Try talking making it simple instead of big and complicated sentences. Don’t pull your jargons over them.
In statistics on vocabularies used by a child, it is said that a two-year-old child can talk 50-100 words, and children completing 5 years can use more than 1000 words while they talk. They learn while we speak but make it gradual.
Eyes are the windows
The toddler’s brain for most of the time is very active and keeps them busy either talking or thinking. When you want them to listen to you, make sure you connect with them through the eyes when you talk. When you try to connect to the busy toddler to make them listen to your conversation and the child is still too busy to look into your eye, then try to connect to the child emotionally. Understand that they also wish to test us at times, trying to do things which are not right, because their feelings and emotions are in the learning phase.
At times, the fear and excitement in them make them too crazy to listen to anyone. When you can understand their emotions and reflect back to them, it reassures that their feelings are normal and builds trust and respect in you. Again, understanding the emotions and feelings is new to them and we should handle them with care and a lot of patience.
Toddlers start emotional and social development at this age. They enjoy spending time with their loved ones and at the same time, they want to be more independent or the “Do it myself” attitude kicks on. This is the right age for them to know what is good and wrong. So make sure to use the words so wisely that can make them understand “What to do and what not to do”.
Nothing a song can’t fix
Singing is a way of expression that a child can easily be attracted to. Try to convey the lessons using the audiovisual methods, where they enjoy. Sometimes the lessons taught can be forgotten but the songs remain in their heart. Using projectors for video lessons and making them shake their body for music, makes them remember the song and hence the lesson by heart without the effort of teaching. Kids enjoy both singing with friends and singing in groups. So make sure to add some musical lessons frequently. This can even lift up the mood and get them to stay active for the following sessions.
Colorful pictures, sensory objects, and classroom projects
Children love colors. It catches their eyes and gets grasped easily by their mind. Be it a picture or colorful decorations they enjoy the mood of colors. Make sure the classroom is lively with bright colors. Make their charts and the teaching aids attractive and amusing to them.
Engage them in small projects using glue, stickers, googly eyes, colorful pompoms, crayons, and color papers. Children love to make various art forms using play-doh. This can be useful to help them improve their sensory and motor skills. Teach them small activities based on the topic that was taught. Let them have fun in learning. This is the right time for them to know various other skills like drawing, painting and craftwork.
Appreciate them when they listen
When kids look at you when you talk and follow your instructions, make sure you appreciate them immediately. Toddlers love being appreciated, who doesn’t like being appreciated. This will make them look on to you the next time too. Have some color tags and give the end of the day when they followed your instructions. This can motivate them and the other kids to follow you the next day.
Make the stories exciting and interesting
Stories are one of the best ways to connect to the children. Moral stories or kid’s favorite superhero stories, use the characters they love to convey the message. This will create a special focus to what we are talking about when we talk about their favorites.
Engage them in the storytelling process, this will help them understand what’s happening with the characters, follow the story, and ask them questions from the story after the story session.
This is the right age for them to improve their vocabulary and language. Enact those stories or use colorful lights and set the mood while telling the stories. Using puppets or character figures while telling the stories make them avid listeners and it stays in their mind so long. The stories are the best way of teaching moral values and behavioral lessons.
Every child is different in all means. Physically, mentally, their character and behavior, nothing should be compared to another child. The curriculum should help create a strong mind and body. Instead of focusing on lessons to be taught, filling their brain with a lot of stuff which they anyways can learn in kindergarten, make them work on some interactive and playful curriculum. This is the right age to ignite their imagination, especially through playtime. Make the school a second home to these little fellows, where they can enjoy, play, and learn all the way.
As Dr. Seuss had said, ‘Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained, and delighted.’
The more we talk in their language, the more we connect emotionally with them, gaining their trust and teaching a toddler becomes fun.