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  • How to Help your Preschooler to be Independent

    Nervous about your child having to do things for himself in school?
    by Kat Castaneda . Published Jun 3, 2017
How to Help your Preschooler to be Independent
PHOTO BY pixabay.com
  • Counting the days ‘til the start of the school year and it looks like you’re more excited and nervous than your child. Whether it’s his first year in preschool or moving up to big school, we listed down the major concerns of parents and asked for tips from teachers and experts to prepare your child, and even you as parents for the school year ahead.

    "My son loves everything fried! I want to form a healthy eating habit by giving him some veggies for his baon, but I’m afraid he won’t touch it and will leave him hungry at school all day. What other alternatives can I give to make him like his food aside from the fried ones?"

    You can still have it fried but you need to change the usual meal preparation. Slicing, dicing and mincing the veggies is one way of hiding it. Try an omelet with carrots and onions, tortang talong, deep fried pizza roll, and a refreshing drink like shake with fruits tidbits. 

    "Since I started working, I've always left my child with her lola and ate (yaya). She doesn’t go out and mingle with children her age. Whenever we go out on play dates, she would instantly run to her lola. It’s her first year in preschool and I’m afraid that she will always look for lola when in school. Howcan she make new friends?"

    When faced with new people, environment, and situations, prepare your children with gentle coaching, and roleplaying. For example, you can visit school grounds together to become familiar with the place- because if she is, it's one less daunting obstacle to overcome. Another tip is by playing various situations using toys, and having guided questions such as- “Ano kaya gagawin ni (toy) kapag lumapit si (toy)? Ano kaya pwede niyang gawin para makapaglaro sila? Sa tingin mo, pwede kayang..? Maybe your child just needs to transition at her own pace and soon enough, she'll be running to her classmates already.

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    "My child has a tendency to say “mine” to everything he holds! I worry about t when he goes to school. How do I teach him about personal belongings?"

    Labeling things as "mine" is your child's way of exercising his growing need for independence and ownership. To help him understand that not everything is his (and avoid possible future problems), you can practice at home by labeling other people's things. That some are Mommy's, Papa’s and some are his. It is important that adults model proper behavior in respecting other people's belongings. Show the correct way process of borrowing, returning, and waiting for your turn. Depending on the age, he would eventually outgrow it to become more inclusive of their peers.

    "We started potty training our child already. I told her that she couldn't wear diapers anymore to school. I also reminded her to tell teacher if she needs to go. But during her summer class, the teacher told me that she wet/peed on her pants. She said she forgot because she was playing and was too shy to tell teacher because her classmates might laugh at her. What should we do?"

    This is normal and sometimes, when kids are preoccupied with their activity or with playing with others, they tend to forget to say that they need to go. If this incident happens again, reassure her that it’s ok and next time whenever she feels the need to pee, approach the teacher so they can go to the washroom right away. On the other hand, teachers should respond positively by saying, “It’s ok, I think there’s an extra pants inside your bag, let’s check and I’ll help you change.” This way, the child will feel more secured and know that there will be someone to assist her when Mommy’s away.

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    "My child sleeps late everyday. He says he is not yet sleepy. Watching the TV helps him go to sleep at night. He doesn’t even take his siesta anymore because he wants to play longer. How do I trick him to go to sleep early so he won’t feel sleepy in school?"

    Creating a schedule board placed inside his room might help so your child could visualize what his day will look like. If your child can’t read yet, use pictures to make it attractive for him! Also make sure to stick to the evening routine such as brushing teeth after dinnertime, washing up and changing into his pajamas. Adults too should make a routine such as limiting the use of cellphone at night so there will be no more excuses. If it helps, try not to put a TV inside the bedroom so the child, or even you won’t be tempted to doze off while watching.


    Special thanks to our resource persons: Jomel R. Concepcion, RN-D.; Vicka Siddayao, Instructor, University of the Philippines Integrated School (K-2); CD Lastimosa, preschool teacher, International School Manila; Jenn Obaldo, kindergarten teacher in Australia; Karen Lorenzana, Child Development Specialist, Stone Hedge Learners, Inc.

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