Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Getting Ready For A New Year...



Resolutions for Preschoolers
an article by Robin McClure at About.com


Goals to grow by: Setting goals isn't just for adults or New Year's resolutions. You can also use key milestones such as a child's birthday, starting day care or school, moving to a new room, or any other rite of passage to take the opportunity to help your young child on the road toward independence and growing up. Even if your child can't read, write down goals that are age appropriate and review them with your child on a daily or weekly basis. Make sure your tot understands that reaching these goals is a step to becoming a "big kid!"

1. I will pick up after myself: Toddlers are quick to pull out their toys and leave them scattered everywhere, and not-so-quick to put them away. Many well-meaning parents enable their kids to not put away their toys, thus teaching them responsibility, with the argument that it is easier to just do it themselves. Maybe it is, but you don't want a child who doesn't pick up or help clean up messes later in life. This goal should be extended to a child's day care setting as well. Ask your child's caregiver to help teach your child to become more responsible and to participate in clean-up time and that you want to know if that doesn't occur.

2. I will brush my teeth, comb my hair, and keep my face clean: Your preschooler will still need help with thorough teeth brushing, but doing it independently it can still be a goal to work toward. Knowing that teeth are to be brushed at least twice a day, hair combed before leaving the house each day, and that faces are to be wiped clean after eating and before heading out sets the example of basic hygiene expectations.

3. I will wash my hands after using the bathroom and before eating: Teach your kids that handwashing helps to keep them safe and healthy and the "big, bad bugs" away. Make sure you show your kids how to wash their hands (including in between the fingers) and to use hand sanitizer either after hand washing is complete or when no soap and water is available (whatever your family practice is). If possible, keep a personal-size bottle of hand sanitizer in your child's backpack, in the car, and ask for teachers to step up its use along with vigorous hand-washing, especially during bouts of cold and flu seasons or when another classmate comes down with any type of communicable ailment.

4. I will learn to get myself dressed, or at least mostly: Preschoolers are able to put on clean underwear, slip on shirts, and pull on simple pants or skirts. Most can also learn to put on socks and even their shoes (maybe not the laced type, however). Make sure you avoid any "morning wars" by letting your kids have a role in clothing selections the night before and encourage them to dress themselves (no switching of attire) to help with the morning madness routine.

5. I will use my manners: Youngsters can and should learn to say common courtesy words such as "please," "thank you", and "you're welcome" at a very young age. They should also learn about using silverware, putting a napkin in their lap, not belching at the table or throwing food, or doing anything that would not be considered un-mannerly. Child care providers often instill a routine at mealtimes to maintain order and calmness; parents can follow suit at home with similar successful results as well.

6. I will mind adults who love and care for me: Toddlers up should learn to mind adults in charge of their well-being, such as a family member, babysitter, caregiver, coach, or volunteer at church. Without a doubt, independent-minded kids will create battles out of not wanting to do something when an adult asks. While setting this as a goal won't automatically put an end to such battles, constant reinforcement and discussions of expectations will certainly help, along with time, maturity, and of course, patience.

7. I will use my inside voice when indoors: Kids scream. In fact, most kids LOVE to scream. And that is okay in certain settings, but never indoors. Let kids run wild at the park or backyard, but teach them that there is a huge difference in voice volume and tone, and that there is an "indoor voice" you expect them to use at appropriate times. Praise a child when a normal level is used, and tell a child he "hurts your ears" when he yells.

8. I will keep my hands and feet to myself: Touching, poking, biting, hitting, and even head-banging ... these are the kid activities that obviously need to become "no-nos" in general. A child needs to learn that hands and feet are to be kept off of other people, and that nobody thinks it is acceptable to be hurt, even in a playful way. Set a reward to keeping hands and feet off of others, and at the same time, enforceable consequences if your child does not.

9. I will read with my parents or caregivers every day: Read to your baby, toddler, preschooler, and elementary-age child, even past the time they are emerging as independent readers. And make it a priority to read to or with your children every day. You already know how very important it is to have your child learn to read and to learn to love learning new things, so having your child make it a goal will help to reinforce to you its value.

10. I will share my things with others: Sharing is such a hard thing to do, especially when you are a young child and want something really, really badly! But teach your child early and often the importance of sharing. Kids also need to know that if there is a treasured item that won't/can't be shared, then it must be put away and not brought out while other friends are present. Besides teaching sharing, kids must also learn that it is not acceptable to "show off" toys and possessions that they have that other kids don't. Donating toys a good way to teach sharing.

11. I will be nice to my friends and to animals: "Be nice" is a motto all youngsters need to adopt. It's hard sometimes to be nice to other kids or to animals, but kids should learn that being nice to others is a lifelong expectation. Show your child how to meet new friends, to play together nicely, and how to meet and interact with animals, even friendly ones! Youngsters need to know that they should never tease animals, try and get them to eat something only to jerk it away, or to stick fingers around their mouths. Rather, teach kids how to introduce themselves to animals by waving and simply saying, "hello!"

12. I will get a good night's sleep every night: Let kids have a role in their bedtime and bedtime rituals. Kids this age need 10-12 hours of quality sleep, and bedtime battles cause frustration and lots of stress and tears for everyone. Ask your child what activities or wind-down events he'd like to do, and then back up the time accordingly. Let your child use a night light, if desired, and pick a favorite toy or stuffed animal to sleep with. But at the magic "beddy-bye" time, kids need to know that no amount of whining or drama will prevent them from going to bed. Both parent and child alike are much happier when a tot gets the correct amount of sleep.

Comments:
I love this. thanks for sharing.
 
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