Tag Archives: preschool

Friends

14 Jun

Hannah LOVES prep (like preschool, but it’s at school and they have to wear school uniforms (which is what we do down under, at all schools, public or private) just like the rest of the kids). She likes it so much that she can’t wait for kindergarten to start.  That might be mostly because she gets to wear a dress everyday though, rather than the school’s sports uniform she has to wear in prep.

Every time I pick her up, I ask her how her day was.  She is so incredibly shy that it took her a while to make some friends.  Probably because her response to people saying hi to her was to put her head down and stare at the floor instead of answering them.  I can’t imagine that many 4 year olds would know how to combat such shyness.

UrbMatinpost

Despite not having any little friends in the first few weeks, she was still having lots of fun and was excited every school day.  She soon started talking about a girl we’ll call Kid1.  “Mommy, Kid1 and I played together all the time today.”  She told me when I picked her up.

I know Kid1’s grandma from the gym and heard similar stories from her.  “Kid1 talks about Hannah all the time.  They are so cute.”  Her grandma told me.

It was like that for a couple of weeks, both girls raving about each other and playing together all day.

But then it started to change.  “Kid1 and Kid2 told me she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.” Hannah told me sadly. I asked her some questions about it and found that Kid2 befriended Kid1 which for some reason meant that they didn’t like Hannah anymore.  Of course we’re talking about the view of a 4 year old, so it could be very different to reality.

Every school day it was the same.  I picked Hannah up and she told me that Kid1 and Kid2 told her they didn’t want to be her friend.  She said they played games where Hannah was in jail and they would laugh at her or they would pretend she was dead.

“Did you tell them you don’t like playing those games?” I asked Hannah.  She is so shy though, so of course, she said no.  “When they are being mean to you, why don’t you go find some nicer kids to play with?  It’s important to be nice to everyone, but that doesn’t mean you have to play with people who are not being nice to you.  If they are always mean to you, it’s better to find some new friends who won’t be mean to you all the time.”  I told her.

My sweet little shy girl

My sweet little shy girl

“I really want to play with Kid1 and Kid2.”  Hannah told me.

Why does she want to play with girls who clearly don’t like her?  Why not find some friends who actually want to play with her?

I didn’t think I’d have to have to deal with such things at 4 years old.  Maybe she was making a mountain out of a mole hill.  I was only going off one side of the story.

I decided to speak to the teacher who told me that lots of the girls have been saying they don’t want to be friends with the other kids (but that Hannah hadn’t said it to anyone).  At least they weren’t singling Hannah out, but that doesn’t make it any better for anyone.  The teacher said she has been talking to them about it and telling them multiple times every day that they can’t say that but that they still do.  She asked them why they were saying it and found that they said it when they don’t want to play what the particular child they say it to is playing with at the time.

“Hannah is more advanced emotionally, so she seems understand the severity of their words better than the other kids.”  The teacher told me.

It’s true, Hannah emotionally advanced.  She is so sweet and compassionate, which is great, but can also mean she gets hurt more than the other kids.

The teacher said she’d keep an eye on it, and didn’t know that Hannah was upset by it (which is not surprising since she doesn’t say anything about it).  Apparently a lot of the kids had been taking turns being in jail and also playing dead.

“If they tell you they don’t want to be their friend anymore, tell them that’s not nice, and walk away.  Go find other kids to play with.  You can tell the teacher if they are mean to you.  You don’t have to, but you can.  And you don’t have to play things that you don’t want to play.”  I told Hannah.

She still tells me that Kid1 and Kid2 are mean to her.  I still don’t know why she wants to play with them.  “I’m not inviting them to my birthday party.” Hannah told me when we wrote out her party list.  She is only inviting 10 kids to her party (my limits, gymnastics parties are expensive), and only 5 from school.

“Kid2 played with me all day today because Kid1 wasn’t at school.” Hannah told me the other day.  I didn’t let my frustration show, but I find it so annoying that when Kid1 and Kid2 are together they are mean to Hannah, yet when one of them isn’t there, it’s Hannah they go to for a playmate.  “I want to invite Kid2 to my party.”

“Sorry, you can’t.  Remember, I said 1o kids only, and that once we got the invites out, we can’t add anyone.”

Judging by the fact that Kid2 handed out birthday invitations the same day as Hannah, and Hannah didn’t get one, I think they really do mean they don’t want to be Hannah’s friend when they say that, not that they just don’t want to play with her right then.

It’s heartbreaking to see my little girl not have any good friends at school, but I know that some of it is her own shyness.  We saw a different girl from school (who is nice to her and whom she invited to her birthday party) at playgroup the other day, and Hannah wouldn’t even say hi.  The other girl kept saying “Hi Hannah!!” all excitedly but was met with a downward head and eyes staring at the floor.  I’m not sure how I can help her, but I really hope she can overcome her shyness.

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Monday changes everything

1 Feb

Monday is the day that everything changes.  I can no longer change daycare/preschool days around to suit my university schedule, or drop Hannah off at 7am if I need to in order to make it to an exam by ridiculous o’clock in the morning.  The option of leaving Hannah at preschool until 5 to maximise my kid free time to finish all of my chores and writing and gardening will no longer be available.

On Monday, Hannah starts school.  Not school as such, only prep, but prep is at the school, she still has to wear the uniform, and the days and hours are set and can’t be changed.  So it’s pretty much school.  It’s totally school in her eyes.  She’s been raving about it for months.  She’s even overly excited to wear her gender non-specific, way-too-big-for-her uniform that cost an arm and a leg.

If you’re scratching your head right now wondering what prep is, it’s pretty much a step up from preschool, but not quite kindergarten.  They get used to being at the school, and is either 2 or 3 days per week (we chose 3 to make the transition to 5 full days next year a bit easier.  There is no am or pm for kindergarten over here, it’s just BAM, 5 full school days straight away).

Only private schools (around here at least) have prep, and if your kid doesn’t go to prep at the school, it’s really hard to get into kindergarten as they only reserve a couple of places in kindy for kids that didn’t go to prep.  If your kid does go to prep, he/she is guaranteed a place in kindy.  Since the local primary school near us is ranked one of the worst in the whole state, and I don’t particularly want Hannah swearing and smoking in the bathroom when she’s 8 (as I’ve heard lots of kids around here do), she’s going to private school.

One of the worst things when I went to school was changing from elementary/primary school to middle school.  The middle school was fed from 4 different elementary schools, and none of my friends were in any of my classes.  I had to make new ones, which was hard when a lot of other people in my classes managed to get into classes with friends they already had.

After I finally made some good friends in middle school, we had to move to high school, which was the only high school in the town and fed by 2 different middle schools.  There were 3 different lunch times.  For the first couple years, I was lucky, I had classes with friends, and lunch with some of them too.  But then the last year came, and maybe the year before that too, I can’t remember, and my lunch break didn’t correspond to any of my friends’ lunch breaks.  I was all by myself.  I had to find people to sit with or face looking like a total loser in front of 1/3 of the school.  That year (half a year really since I came here the second half of the year) was really hard.  I spent lots of lunch time skipping the eating part and going to the library just so I didn’t have to sit by myself somewhere.  Eventually I found a table full of other people like me who didn’t have friends at that lunch time and we all sat together.  But when everyone was finished with their lunch, they all dispersed and I again went to the library.

UrbMatinpost

I don’t want Hannah to have to worry about stuff like that.  I don’t want her to be forced into making a whole new group of friends twice during her schooling.  Her school is from prep to year 12, so I’m extremely happy that she won’t have to.  Unless we move at some point.  Then I’d feel awful for her, but it we did ever move during her schooling, it would probably be to a small country town where the school kids would be happy to have someone else to play with.

firstdaylastdaypreschool

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When rules go too far

24 Aug

Hannah and I made some delicious healthy chocolate muffins as a snack for her to bring to preschool.  Nuts aren’t allowed at preschool (due to allergies suffered by some kids), so I left out the pecans and put in some raspberries instead. Did I mention that they are super healthy? Yogurt, banana, oats, chia seeds, stevia, cocoa powder. Nothing bad. Not full of sugar.

When I picked Hannah up from preschool, I got her clear lunch box out of the fridge and noticed something, besides the vegetables that she didn’t eat, inside. When I opened the lid, I found her mini chocolate muffin in a little brown bag that said “I’m no longer pre-school food.”

ECOlunchbox Three-in-One

Um…what?

I held up the bag, found the nearest employee and said “this is a healthy muffin. There isn’t any sugar in it, and it’s full of healthy ingredients. I made them.”

She looked at me like I was an idiot. “Do they have chocolate in them?”

“They have cocoa powder in them. Cocoa isn’t bad for you.” True story. Cocoa is really healthy, it’s the fats and sugars they put with the cocoa in chocolate bars that makes it not so good.

“Well, anything with chocolate in it is not allowed.”

So I could put a sugary, unhealthy vanilla cupcake in Hannah’s lunch, but she’s not allowed to have a healthy chocolate muffin. Because it has cocoa in it. No exceptions, no negotiations. I don’t think they know much about nutrition, so it’s blanket rules for everyone.

Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, but that was right after I was told they didn’t give Hannah her milk today.

Hannah has a rash on her bottom that resembles big angry pimples. The doctor said it’s a bacterial infection and gave her some antibiotics. She isn’t exactly jumping with glee at medicine time though, so I hide it in her drinks. I put the antibiotics in her milk and then disguised the taste with sustagen (a chocolate powder with vitamins, minerals, and protein. Used in hospitals for patients who aren’t getting enough nutrients).

Ensure Bottles, Chocolate, 8-Ounces, 16 Count Bottles

Yeah, chocolate. 

“We don’t allow flavoured milk.” I was told when I dropped her off. And fair enough, I get that. Not that Sustagen is the same as just chocolate flavoured milk, but I see the point. Too many kids are drinking unhealthy sugary drinks instead of good old milk.

I told them why the milk had sustagen in it only to be told that usually I would need to bring in the antibiotics bottle so they could see Hannah’s name on it and the dosage needed. And then if I wanted it in Hannah’s milk, they’d have to watch me do it, or do it themselves. In addition to signing a form stating what she is taking, how much, at what time, etc.

“But we’ll let her have it this time.” They told me. Because I’m new and I didn’t know. No worries. There are some dodgies out there who get medicine for one kid and then give half of it to another. Fair enough. I know they are just looking out for the kids.

When I picked her up though, I was told she wasn’t allowed her milk because it had antibiotics in it and they hadn’t seen the bottle. “Yeah, I was told this morning that she could have it this time, but next time I’d need to bring the bottle.”

“Oh, sorry about that. She was pretty upset that she couldn’t have her milk”

I was pretty cranky. “Of course she was, she always has milk before quiet time, and she knew I packed milk for her.”  She looked at me all surprised. “I should have been told. I live just down the road, I would have come back with the bottle.”

Seriously, who are they to decide that my child needs to miss a dose of antibiotics without informing me? Are they trying to create superbugs?

Hannah’s preschool is good. She loves it. She is happy. She has a great time. But ugh, the ridiculous rules. Sigh. I’m still annoyed about the muffins. We made them especially to bring there! AND THEY ARE HEALTHY!!!!

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Almost a tear

22 Aug

I had been dreaming about it for a long time. Fantasising about all of the things I could get done. Giddy over the thought of having a day all to myself. A day where I wouldn’t be up to my elbows in someone else’s poop. I had been counting down the days with delight.

And then that beautiful day arrived. I drove the kids to daycare, Daniel’s very first day, Hannah’s very last. But there was no happy dance. Not even a gigantic smile. Instead, I nearly cried. Yes, me.  

After I spent way too long telling Mel (who looks after the kids at her house, it’s family daycare) all the ins and outs of Daniel’s sleep routine, what he likes, doesn’t like, etc. I stood there for a bit, not wanting to leave, but knowing I needed to. I had to step out that door, and leave my baby behind. Just for the day.

What if he cried for me? What if he wanted to come over to me and give me one of his trademark affectionate head butts? What if he was overtired and couldn’t get to sleep? What if he missed me so much he just couldn’t settle down? What if he didn’t eat his lunch because I wasn’t around and the whole thing was just so new/weird/different? Would he be ok without me? Would he go from room to room searching for me? Would he be happy? Oh my gosh, what if he wasn’t?!

It was easier the first day I dropped Hannah off at Mel’s. She was two and a half. She could talk. She understood what was going on. She wanted to go. I know because she told me.  She was older, I knew she’d be ok.

I know you’re all wondering, am I going back to work? Is that why I put him in daycare? No. I intend to do a lot of house chores, and finally finish my book (the one about pregnancy). Research shows it’s actually good for kids to go to daycare a day or two a week once they turn one. Plus I plan to start uni next year, so I wanted him to be very settled in his care and start slow, with just the one day per week.

Before I even finished explaining Daniel’s sleep routine, he was off. He high-tailed it to the toy room and didn’t look back. I went in before I left to say goodbye and let him know I’d be back later (And of course to give Hannah a hug and kiss too.) I expected a stream of tears, yelling, and him looking up at me with those sad puppy dog eyes while he hugged my leg.

Instead, he turned straight back to the toys. So I left.

I thought about him all day. Wondering how he was doing. If he was crying, or sad, hungry, confused, etc. I managed to hold off texting Mel until mid day when I couldn’t take it any longer. So I wrote to her “How’s he going?”

“He’s loving exploring around.” She wrote back.

He even went to sleep without much fuss. I know he does that here all the time, but not without me reading to him, singing to him, and giving him a kiss and putting him in his own cot. Not without me. 

He was fine all day. He didn’t cry or get upset. He didn’t wander around saying “mommy, mama,” while sticking his bottom lip out. Not at all. He played. He explored. He had a great time. He did just fine. Which is great, but the selfish part of me wanted him to miss me. Wanted him to call out for me. To be a little bit sad when I left.

I know, that sounds terrible, and I’m really happy that he did so well. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who feels this way. I’m really hoping he does just as well this week. Last week he had Hannah there with him, but this week she started preschool. Consequently, she won’t be at daycare with Daniel. Hopefully he won’t mind.

How to Choose the Best Preschool for Your Child: The Ultimate Guide to Finding, Getting Into, and Preparing for Nursery School

I know, adorable right?

Since I’m currently weaning Daniel (we’re down to one very quick feed before bedtime, and hopefully that will cease in the next few days), and I no longer have to worry about such things as breast pads and waking up in puddles of milk (which I unfortunately have, more than once. I even ruined a mattress), what better time to do a breast pad giveaway? That’s right, no better time! Don’t worry, these aren’t my old, don’t-need-them-anymore pads, these are brand new, haven’t actually been released in Australia yet breast pads. So if you win, you’d be one of the first people to try them out.

Don’t forget your night breast pads or you might wake up in a puddle.

To win one of 5 packs of Philips Avent Night Breast pads (to curb that annoying puddle wake up), all you have to do is comment on this post. Winners will be drawn via random.org. Must be an Australian resident to enter. 5 winners will be chosen. Winners will be sent a feedback form in the post after their trial. Winners will be drawn 27 August 2012 and will be notified via email.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS!
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Top 10 ways to prepare your toddler for preschool and/or kindergarten

13 Sep

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Preparing your toddler for preschool and kindergarten

12 Sep

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I definitely want to send Hannah to preschool.  Not every day, but once a week starting when she’s 3.  But she hasn’t been apart from me for an entire day before.  Ok, fine, she was once or twice, but she was with Aaron, so that doesn’t count.  Never in her life has she spent an entire day without one of us.  So I think going from that to even a whole day at preschool will be a bit of a shock.  And then there’s kindergarten.  That will be a huge shock (not just to her either!!).  So how do you prepare a child for preschool and/or kindergarten?

I’m no expert at such things, I’ve never even sent one child off to school!  Instead, here’s a guest post by someone who is an expert at such things: Kathleen Thomas of Primrose Schools .

Parents and children alike experience anxiety about what will happen when they go to a “big kid” school. But Kindergarten and Preschool is full of fun and exciting things to learn! There really is no need to feel anxious, because there are some things you can do to help your new school go-er to feel ready for school and lessen your child’s anxiety. This is an important milestone, and if done right, can be an enjoyable one, instead of one filled with anxiety. There are ten steps you can take to calm your child’s, and your, jitters about the first day of school:

Step One A family routine can help get your entire family used to this new event in your lives. Start a daily routine that will work with your schedule and make all family members stick to it. It is best if this routine gets started at least two weeks before school starts, so that your child can start getting the hang of a different routine. Getting used to a different routine as well as getting used to a new setting during the day at the same time can be more chaotic. Starting a routine first before school starts can help gently bring your child into the expected routine.

Step Two Don’t forget about the nighttime routine. Morning tasks can be made easier when done the night before. Packing book bags, getting homework done and picking out the next day’s outfit are some of the things you can help your child do the night before, so that you all are ready for the next day.

Step Three Get plenty of sleep—this goes for you as well as your child. Try reading a bedtime story to your child, but make sure it is early enough in the evening so everyone can get more rest.

Step Four Read books about school and separation issues to your child before school even starts. This can help young children to prepare mentally and emotionally from being away from you during the day once they go to school. Some good books include:

· First Day, by Joan Rankin

· Don’t Go, by Jane Breskin Zalben

· When Mommy and Daddy Go to Work, by Joanna Cole

Step Five Get ready for separation by gradually increasing the amount of time you are away from your child. Take him to Grandma’s house and stay away for maybe 30 minutes. The next time you spend time away, make it an hour, and so forth. This will help your child realize that they can be away from you for a typical school day and it is okay.

Step Six Most schools have a “back to school” night, or something similar where you can go to the school with your child and take a tour of the classroom and meet teachers. Other parents will be there with their children as well, so have your child meet other children. Familiar faces help ease the transition on the first day of school. Afterwards, talk about how fun everything looked, and what your child is most looking forward to.

Step Seven Talk about what your child’s day might be like. Start with, “When you get to school, you will get to play with your friends and listen to stories. You will have snack time and then a resting time. When the day is over, we will be there to take you home.” This can help your child visualize what school will be like and ease her fears for the first day.

Step Eight Get school supplies with your child. Let him choose some supplies and talk about how and what he will use them for. This sets up the excitement and anticipation for school to start.

Step Nine When it is time for school and you drop her off, make your goodbyes short and sweet. Give her a quick hug and kiss, and send her on her way. Promise to come back when the day is over. Be cheerful about the entire process, because this will tell your child that you expect all to go well.

Step Ten Set up great communication with your child’s teacher. They are there to help your child succeed in school and want the best for him as much as you do. The more you show your partnership with the teacher, the more your child will pick up on this behavior and not be afraid of the teacher. Your child will feel more secure when he sees you taking an interest in what happens in the classroom. The more confident you are about your child entering school, the more confident your child will be. Setting up routines and showing your child that this is a normal part of life can make the transition to school a happy and seamless one.

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