Preschool for Parents: From a Teacher’s Perspective
By: Mona Bachani
Your little one is finally in school, so you’re free, right? Unfortunately not. There is still a lot for you to do. I am sure you know your work as parents is never done. Well here I am, to tell you what all teachers are thinking - but aren’t saying out loud.
Pacifiers and Bottles - Get Rid of Them!
If your little one is two years old and still using bottles and pacifiers, you may be in trouble. Extensive use of pacifiers and bottles change the structure of your child’s mouth. These can be your lifeline during teething, temper tantrums and just about anything else. I know it’s tough, but after twelve months they should stop using them altogether. As children start eating solid foods, their mouths should open and close more frequently, which strengthen their muscles. Extensive use of pacifiers and bottles replicate a sucking motion which hinders the development of those muscles and can lead to speech issues. Yes, you read that correctly, it can hinder their ability to speak clearly. So say goodbye sooner than later!
2. “Shh Don’t Tell the Teacher!” - Tell! Tell Us Everything!
Often you don’t want your child’s teacher knowing the details of what happens at home, but sometimes it can be good to share them. I always say there is no such thing as too much information. I have received 3 a.m. emails about bowel movements, sleep issues, family visiting, and food issues. We want to know these things because the smallest change in your child’s routine can alter their behavior in school. Telling us even the smallest things can help us better understand, support and care for your little one! Sharing those things does not make you a bad parent - it makes you a better one! We aren’t judging you as a parent, in fact, we appreciate your attentiveness.
3. "Thank You" Goes a Long Way!
The smallest things can change a teachers day. We often only hear from parents when they are upset about something, but what about all the other good days? An email saying thank you or a small treat change what starts as a rough week to a great day. A parent once walked into a conference with a couple of coffees and something so small made the day so much easier to get through. It’s great to get things around the holidays, but the sporadic acknowledgments are awesome! Some of the best mementos I have are emails parents send me acknowledging how happy their child is in school and how thankful they are for our support. Your child’s teacher may be with your child for the majority of the day, let them know you appreciate them!
4. We Hear Everything!
Children pick up on everything. Be careful of what you say around them, even if you aren’t talking directly to them. For example, something like this can be shared; “Mommy said she doesn’t like you because the painting has glitter on it and made the house messy.” Yes, this is just one of many things children have repeated to their teachers. The list of things children have said that parents have said is hilarious but can also be a bit conflicting for little ones to understand. Be honest with your children, say how you feel about something but pick your words wisely. Identify the feeling, don’t blame a person.
5. Work on Things Together!
No matter how old your child is, there are always things that he or she can work on to make themselves more independent or improve upon. Talk to your child’s teacher about some things you can do at home - job charts, chores, fine motor skills, etc. These conversations don’t just need to happen during conferences, but also if you check in every month or so. As parents, we often see the best in our children but an unbiased opinion can help your little one be even better! Plus, teachers love to know you’re engaged and that they can share what they see in school with you.
Raising a little one isn’t an easy undertaking. Just remember teachers and parents are on the same side, we just want the best for every child!