Hi guys! I’m back. Sorry I took a little break for summer but now I’m back with some interesting topics for Fall. Today’s topic was inspired by some insight I received from my cousin on transitioning your little one to school as well my experience with daycare during these pandemic times. Finding a childcare center for a toddler has been a challenge. Once more of the world became vaccinated and cities “re-opened”, it seems like all parents got the same idea of “send kids to school now!”
Once we found a center through the state government site, it felt like we struck oil. Fast forward to his first week. He walked in and had no issue getting picked up by the teacher as I said goodbye. As I returned, a teacher in passing said “he was so good. He sat in one spot looking around for a while and I said to myself, oh he must be a quarantine baby”. A what? And it hit me…I guess he would be classified as such. It was only 4-5 months after his birth that the world shutdown and he’s been in quarantine ever since without interaction with anyone his size or outside immediate family. Prior to school, he loved seeing babies and kids on TV, and seeing them in real-life was a thrill. One thing he can’t stand is closed doors and I can’t blame him for wanting to escape any chance he gets being “in the house” for like 18 months.
Now for the older tots who are transitioning to pre-K and first grade, they have a slightly different set of expectations in preparing for school. If they’ve been home, they may not have had the opportunity to experience and learn some of the things that are further explored from daycare or child development center. Basic things like closing the bathroom door when you potty that they would have to put into practice at school or in public. Here are some other things that parents can practice with these little ones prior to starting or returning to school:
Wear bottoms (this goes for parents AND kids as most of us have gotten used to only being seen from the waist up)
Potty etiquette - Practice what to do during potty breaks. Pants stop at the ankles, do not take them all the way off (they may have trouble putting them back on). How to wipe for a clean swipe. Flush the toilet (with your foot or grab tissue for handle). Washing hands with soap & water. Elmo has a really catchy song and cartoon on PBS that even taught Miles. Drying hands before returning to class and grabbing the potty pass. Safe bottoms, meaning if your child hasn’t practiced fastening a belt or button on jeans, stick with elastic or stretchy wear until they have developed that skill.
Opening snacks - who knew that opening fruit snacks or snack bags of Goldfish required skills. Yes practice those pincer grips and where to open. Even straws in juice boxes, especially for those kiddos who bring their own lunches from home.
Zipper fun - how cute are they with their first backpacks. Have the ever practiced with a zipper before? Able to recognize open versus closed? We don’t want their homework and artwork from school to not make it home because it fell out of an open book bag.
Laces vs Velcro strap - Who’s winning? As much as we would love to send our kids to school with the hottest sneakers on the rack, “it ain’t no fun if they can’t tie ‘em”. Remember, KISS (Keep It Simple Student). They will have plenty of time for name brand and show strings. But if they haven’t quite mastered this skill, send them to school with shoes with Velcro straps and work on tying shoelaces in the evenings as you prepare dinner.
What’s your name? - Ensure the kids are familiar with their name. Practice writing it. Practice recognizing it on labels. Practice spelling it out loud. They should also know their parents first names.
New phone, who dis? - Well, they may not have a phone of their own but they should start to learn yours as their own. In this day in age, most homes have gotten away from the traditional “house phone” and have their cell phones as primary.
Recognition of “old stuff” - As times have changed quickly, many textbooks and workbooks have not been updated to reflect such. My son had a kindergarten worksheet that had a picture of a rotary phone and slip (you know the kind that women wore back in the day under their skirts/dresses). He had no idea what those pictures were. Maybe show some comparison pics like old TVs versus now, phones, parts of a house or things around the house. Even things around a garden and nature.
Sharing - this is a sensitive area as with Covid-19, we’ve constantly been directed not to share or get too close. This may conflict with what we’ve always been taught which is to share and not be selfish. So it’s safe to have a conversation with your little ones on common practice is now for safety reasons around sharing and also remind them of things we never share like toothbrushes, drinks, food that has already been bitten or eaten, germs, brushes, etc.
Masks - with many schools requiring kids to wear masks, it does take some getting used to. Even as a nurse working in the hospital (during non-Covid times), we couldn’t wait to snatch our masks off and breathe fresh air and with adults not wanting to keep masks on for a few minutes, you can just imagine how kids may feel having to wear them for hours a day. Practice when going to the store or activity. Talk about how it feels and how to breathe in them. Laugh about ways of how NOT to wear them (over your eyes like a pirate or bandit, over your mouth and not nose where you can’t talk, under your chin like a football player).
Teachers, feel free to share any other tips you have out there. Have a wonderful school year all and take good care!
Yo! Mama Mesh