Laying a Foundation for Your Preschooler

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Have a preschooler? Just what do these little guys need to thrive each day ? These years are so important as they set up the rest of their childhood habits- here's how to create environments and activities that nourish their hearts and minds of.

Something I am learning about having preschoolers in the house is this: I am laying the foundation for them now. This is a season of habit training, not just academics and fun creativity {although that is important as well}.

Laying the foundations of habit training now will save much time and energy later. One of my favorite quotes from Charlotte Mason:

“The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children. All day she is crying out, ‘Do this!’ and they do it not; ‘Do that!’ and they do the other. ‘But,’ you say, ‘if habit is so powerful, whether to hinder or to help the child, it is fatiguing to think of all the habits the poor mother must attend to. Is she never to be at ease with her children?”

There are several key elements to laying a foundation for your preschooler.

Habit Training

There are many excellent habits to learn, but a few really important habits for very young children include:

  • Responsibilities (or chores), such as making their bed and cleaning up their toys/books, daily
  • Keeping a regular schedule, in which events happen in the same order most days of the week. I understand for some of us it doesn’t seem necessary because we thrive on flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants. However, our young children may not adapt well to this type of unpredictability. Having meals and bed times set and predictable helps children know what is going to happen next and makes them secure in their environment which can result in a more confident, happy child.
  • Complete obedience, such an important habit to learn early in a child’s life. This will establish who is in authority, thus making homeschooling run that much smoother later on. It is no easy task to get into a power struggle every time lessons are given. Our children must learn early on to obey quickly and happily. They need to know who is in charge and that disobedience will not be allowed. I cannot stress enough how important this is for a smooth-running home school.

Time

Often, in the midst of giving attention to our school aged children in their lessons, we forget our young children need our time as well. They may have days when they can keep themselves occupied, but they still need some undivided attention from us on a daily basis. What we do with them during this time isn’t as important as the time itself, but here are a few suggestions:

  • puzzles, games, blocks, instruments
  • reading aloud, drawing, coloring, painting
  • take a walk (alone with your child), or bike ride
  • child directed play–allow the child to choose an activity

Planned Academics

I find it beneficial and foundational to have 1 to 3 structured academic activities each school day. It goes along with habit training and laying some of the groundwork for more formal lessons later. Once preschoolers reach school age, it may not be easy to expect them to sit down for a length of time without having this prior training. Some ideas for planned academics include:

Preschoolers are bright and lively children. This is a tender age for forming and shaping good habits, spending quality time, and laying a good foundation for their home school future. Not only will this create “smooth and easy days” for the preschooler, but also for the mother.

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

Christin

Christin is wife of 16 years to her high school sweetheart and mother to seven children. She looks for beauty in the simple and appreciates a good cup of coffee. She is learning to live everyday with joy, find gratitude in the mundane, and speak words of grace. You can find Christin writing through her days on her blog, christinslade.com.