We have a very exciting week ahead of us in the Renke household. We are enrolling our daughter, Gracelynn, in preschool! Up until now, our home schedule hasn’t really been super regimented, but we decided that with school in our near future, certain things needed to be addressed.
Put The Kids To Bed
We got into an awful habit of letting our kids set the schedule. The worst part about this was that we never got any time to ourselves. In order to get the kids on board, I set an alarm on my phone with one of their favorite songs. Now whenever it plays, Gracelynn says “Mommy! Your phone is ringing! It’s time to go to bed!” Usually she follows this up with some sort of negotiation that gets her 5 – 10 more minutes before she has to heads upstairs. Now that the kids don’t set our bedtime any longer, David and I have been able to have more time to ourselves. I have been able to fall asleep much faster at night since we started this new habit because I don’t have to let my brain wind down before falling asleep. When Mama gets sleep, everyone is happy. 😉
Read, Read, Read
I used to read to my kiddos every single day, but as they got older we began to do it less and less often. When we started talking about preschool, we decided that reading every day was something that had to become a priority. While reading a story to one, or both, of our girls, we take the time to really look at the pictures and talk about what is going on one the page. Understanding what they are reading now will help build study skills for future homework assignments, so it’s a win win. 🙂 I let my kids choose the books and lead our reading sessions so that they remain engaged the whole time. I don’t like reading books that don’t interest me, so I’m not going to make my kids do it!
Kick The Helpless Habit
I have a tendency to let myself become a maid for my kiddos. “Mommy! Can you get my toys…?” “Mommy! Can you get (something that’s two feet from them)?” “Mommy! Can you put on my socks?” They ask, I do; whether it’s something that I know they can do or not. I guess you could say I’m a pushover. Whoops! It’s one of my biggest weaknesses, but, because of that, I have begun encouraging my children to become more independent by saying “I think you can do it.” or something to that effect when they are having a “helpless” moment. Of course there are times when they are being over dramatic and I play along, being equally as dramatic. It’s important that our kids know life is hard. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It’s okay to make mistakes because we learn from them.
Make An Eating Schedule
Being home all day means that food is always readily available; snacking all day is easy. With school starting soon, I have started to regulate our snacking/ eating schedule. I don’t restrict eating, by any means, but I set boundaries like using an alarm on my phone for snack times so that when the music plays, the girlies know what time it is. My husband and I work for our home so I find it’s easiest to use a time blocking system when doing this so that by the time the school year starts, they have a schedule already. Not only has this gotten my kids to eat MORE at the dinner table, it’s allowed me to focus on eating a more healthy, balanced diet as well. You can find the one I use in my printables library.
Get Your Kids Talking At The Dinner Table
My husband and I decided that I would be a stay at home mom until our youngest could come home and tell us about their day. How to get them talking though was trickier than I thought. We try to keep things casual, sharing stories instead of pushing for answers to direct questions. Playing games have helped make dinner time conversations much more fun and encourage lots of laughter. We are seeking to establish a comfortable environment for the kids so they always feel comfortable to talk about whatever is on their mind. My husband and I want to be as involved as we can now, and in the future especially, in our kids lives and friendships, so when we share stories we make sure to talk about friends and family too. We never want there to be a fear of them coming to us for anything.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
I have been trying to focus my girls play time, coloring time and craft time on activities that will teach them skills they will learn in school. My friend Jennifer over at Education.com has countless resources and worksheets for doing this. Not only that, but you can create your very own worksheets with their worksheet generator! Here are a couple of their worksheets:
You can download the maze here, the crossword puzzle here, and the answer key here.
Adjusting these few behaviors at home has really help our family feel much more at ease and prepared for starting school. How do you prepare for school? Let me know in the comments below!