Supporting your child

At Preschool 345 we want to work with parents and carers in supporting their children’s development and learning. Among our preschool team we have a wealth of experience about the development and behaviour of preschool children. Here they share some tips that parents and carers might find helpful. If you have any questions or worries about any of these topics please feel free to speak to your child’s key person or another member of staff.

Language development

Mandy is our very own Language Leader. She regularly attends networking events and courses so she can keep up to date with the latest research and ideas to help develop your child’s language skills. There are lots of things you can do to encourage and support your child’s communication, speech and language. Here are some of her key tips for supporting your child;

  • Have fun together with language with your child – use actions, sing, make noises, pull funny faces. Don’t be shy – being a bit silly helps get their attention and makes them laugh (which in my opinion is the best sound in the world).
  • Remember children need more time than adults to think about what they’ve heard and decide what to say back. Give them at least 10 seconds to respond and look at them while you wait – it shows you are listening and they will learn to listen in the same way.
  • For younger children – Adding words to your child’s sentences can show them how words fit together e.g. if your child says “dolly hair” you can say “brush dolly’s hair”. Tell stories more than once, repetition helps children understand and remember words.
  • For older children – Join your child in pretend play. Let them take the lead, reversing roles can be great fun, let them be mummy/daddy. This helps them talk about new situations and helps their language and creativity. Talk about what they are saying and doing rather than asking lots of questions, this helps their language skills and shows you are listening and interested.
  • Communication is the sending of information from one person to another and can be verbal (talking to each other) and non-verbal (facial expressions) so, when talking with your children, your facial expressions should reflect your conversation. Children learn how to communicate by watching and listening to adults.
  • When communicating with children come down to their level, verbally and physically
    • Verballyuse age-appropriate language that children can easily understand, such as ‘ no hitting your sister’ as opposed to ‘it is not acceptable to hit your sister’. Preschool aged children find it difficult to sit through long speeches, so a good rule is to speak to them for no longer than 30 seconds at a time, giving them time to take in the information and always mean what you say.
    • Physically – come down to their level. Giving them eye contact shows you are interested in what they are saying and they can learn to read your facial expressions.
  • Have fun listening to and talking with your children, you will be surprised at what they have to say – they surprise me everyday.

Behaviour

Lindsey is our very own behaviour support lead. Here are some of her top tips for managing your child’s behaviour.

  • Environmental behaviour
    • Sometimes it can feel as though all we are saying to our children are things along the lines of “Don’t do that! Come here! What are you doing? Argh!”Try to narrow down exactly what your child is doing and when and why you find it so difficult. Concentrate on where the unwanted behaviour happens – is it always during a trip to the supermarket? Then think in what ways the experience could be altered to allow your child to behave as you want them to. Sometimes breaking it down into more manageable pieces makes it easier to deal with the ‘whole thing’.
    • Some strategies for shopping might include…
      • Getting them to help write a shopping list using squiggles, letters, drawings, pictures cut and glued from magazines
      • Giving them small jobs to do whilst there e.g. looking for things, picking things from the shelf, ticking items off their list
      • Praising them when they are behaving as you want them too…although there might still be times when you are letting your little one have a scream or two in the middle of an aisle whilst you are pretending/wishing to be somewhere else
  • Modelling Positive Behaviour
    • At Preschool 345, all staff members try to model the behaviour we want the children to follow. We have our preschool promises that we think about every day and everyone tries to follow.
    • We know that all of our parents and carers are excellent role models – that is why the children display such positive behaviour – so thank you and keep up the good work.
  • A few words on a very small word – “No”
    • No needs to be in the vocabulary of every parent or carer. From the beginning, our children look to us to provide them with the security and parameters that are necessary for them to trust not only us, but the wider world around them.
    • When kids are misbehaving, they are looking to you, saying, “Stop me from doing this! Tell me how to behave correctly! Keep me safe!” This may not seem true when you are in aisle six of the grocery store and your 3-year-old is flailing on the ground because you won’t buy her cookies, but when you say “No” and follow through, you are telling her you love her, you want her to be safe, and your expectations of her are high enough that you are willing to let her be miserable.
    • Saying “No” means that sometimes you will be the bad guy, sometimes your child will tell you they dislike you — or even that they hate you — and sometimes your heart will break a little when you see how unhappy they are. As parents, we need to be strong enough to withstand the temporary anger our children throw our way so that we can take on the role of being the one in charge.
    • Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/consequences-rewards/dr-joan-its-ok-to-say-no/#ixzz3Q8enzlMf (Note this is an external link, Preschool 345 are not responsible for the content on this site)

Getting Ready For School

Exciting times are ahead for many of our children…   We are often asked what children should be doing to prepare for school  and what will be expected of them. We have spoken to all the local schools  that our children move on to and the overwhelming advice is Independence  and Self Care – especially with regards to toilet routines!!
Here are our top tips:

  • Support your child to be confident about getting to the loo in time and wiping properly, using toilet paper rather than moist wipes. Do you have a different phrase for going to the toilet at home? Letting the class teacher know what this is will ensure they understand what your child is trying to ask.
  • Washing their hands.
    Chat about the importance of good handwashing with soap and water, especially after going to the toilet or handling animals. A good way of showing how germs can linger is to let your child cover their hands in paint (pretend germs!) and then try to wash it all off.
  • Dressing and undressing.
    Let your child practice putting on their school clothes, taking them off and folding them neatly in preparation for PE lessons, especially if there are fiddly fastenings such as shirt buttons and zips. Clothes with elastic bands and shoes with Velcro® are easier to handle for young children. Teach your child tricks such as putting labels at the back, holding cuffs to stop sleeves riding up and wrinkling tights to put toes in first.
  • Free school meals will be available to all children from reception to year 2, but many schools will offer the option of packed lunches, too. Children having school dinners need to be able to use a full-sized knife and fork and carry a plate or tray. If your child is taking a lunchbox, make sure they can open it as well as any containers and packets inside.
  • Using a tissue.
    Introduce your child to the routine of ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ (catching their sneeze or runny nose in a tissue, putting it in the bin straightaway, then washing hands to kill germs). Some children find nose-blowing difficult, so play games to practice nose control – blowing a feather into the air, for example.
  • Social Skills a Child Needs Before Starting School.
    While your child has been at Preschool 345 we have been helping them to develop these very important life skills. Social skills are the key to making and keeping friends at school, and your child needs to know a few basic social skills before they start school:  Learning to share and take turns, Understanding boundaries for acceptable behaviour, Being able to follow simple instructions and focus when an adult is speaking, Being able to tell someone how they are feeling.
  • You can find some really practical advice at: https://www.pacey.org.uk/Pacey/media/Website-files/school%20ready/12977-Pacey-Starting-School-Together-Booklet-A5.pdf