Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Preschoolby WFP Admin added on 27 March 2017, Comments Off on Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Preschool , posted in Blog
By Kelly Freeberg, 3 Day Coordinator
I want to start this blog first by saying that without Woodinville Family Preschool, Cecile, Susan, Tami, and the carefully selected textbooks with so much wonderful knowledge I would not be as close to becoming the parent I want to be as I am today. I can’t say thank you enough!
My husband and I made the decision several years back that having children back to back was the path we wanted to take. Our thought was that we would tough it out for a few years but we would be done with those tough toddler years all at once. I think we forgot the fact that it would be toddler years x2. Whenever one is finally getting out of a painfully difficult stage the other one is just starting it. It created this environment that never allowed a break and time to gain your patience back before the second began. Because of this I found myself struggling daily and after attending the preschool for about a year in a half I have learned 4 things that I try to live by everyday:
1) Always keep an open mind to new or different parenting ideas and strategies. Your way is not always the best and not always what your child responds to.
The conversation I recall the most that made me realize how important this is was a conversation during parent ed while in preschool. I was explaining that I just wish I could talk through everything with my daughter to help her understand why I ask her to do the things I do instead of the heavy hand route with her. My father was heavy handed with me and I always wished someone would just talk to me. Cecile, knowing my daughter and how strong willed she can be, looked at me and said you may want to start channeling your father a little bit in that area.
That day I left the preschool and, although it was completely unnatural for me, I followed through having a much heavier hand. I was still kind but there was no discussion about what I was asking. I explained it to her once and left it at that. After that day it was like a light bulb went off with her and she stopped trying the behavior. I was so blown away that that’s all it took. Don’t get me wrong she still tests like every 4-year-old, but now I know how to handle it, and it’s quickly distinguished. If I hadn’t gone out of my comfort zone and was willing to try something different, I am positive I would still be fighting that battle.
2) If something doesn’t work the first 10 times it doesn’t mean it’s not working….some things take time to sink in.
I think we all want instant gratification, especially in specific behaviors we want to see change so badly but with children you always have to remember to just give it time. They are studying everything you do and learning every day. With that learning they will continue to test behaviors but in the end if you are consistent, the behavior you are hoping for will eventually stick.
3) Always come from a place of love and understand that children’s natural curiosity may be behind all that they do.
It’s hard to keep calm when they do something destructive or damaging but try your best to take a deep breath and ask what were they trying to accomplish when that happened. What they tell you may surprise you. Every time I have done this a feeling of just how much I adore them and an instant calm comes over me. You hear how innocent minds are and see what was happening through their eyes. They are never trying to be “bad” or upset you, they are trying to learn and discover through play.
The other day I was upstairs and both my children were downstairs and I heard this splashing noise. My son yelled out “Everyone jump in!” Instantly my mind thought ‘dog water bowl’. I headed downstairs, and I heard the sound of them scattering. I told them to not hide and come out and talk to me about what they were doing. Once I understood they just wanted their toys to go for a swim I told them we could put some water in the sink, pull up some step stools and they could play there. As the sink was filling we discussed calmly why it’s important the dog water bowl is left alone. What could have ended in everyone being upset and stressed instead turned into a calm learning experience.
4) One day they will surprise you and you will see all your hard work showing….hold on it will get better.
We all have those days that we just break down crying because we are just pushed to our limits, Have faith because those days do start becoming few and farther between as time goes on. When you are in one of those hard phases it’s like a lifetime but just know that it will get better. Keep doing your best and one day you will turn around and they will make you so proud displaying what you taught them.
I try to make a point every night when I put my children to bed if it has been a rough day to have a quick discussion with them about what happened and maybe things we can work on. One particularly rough day I was talking with my daughter I told her that I may get upset at her, and she may get upset with me, but no matter how upset I am, I always love her more than anything in the world. I’m just upset and it will pass. One day my daughter was stomping walking away from my son like he had done something to upset her. I heard him scream out “But you’re my friend” while chasing after her and crying. She stopped and turned around and said to him calmly “Just because I’m upset doesn’t mean I’m not your friend. I’m just upset.” A warm feeling came over me and a smile to my face…it’s working.
When you are exhausted and have nothing left to give, take a moment remember how lucky you are to be in the place you are. I have two beautiful healthy children that may frustrate me but much more often they make me smile, laugh out loud, and help me understand the amazement of learning a new world through their eyes.