Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tips for Dealing With Preschoolers and Time

One of the first real battles that I remember as a relatively new parent of two kids was that my first-born started to refuse to go to sleep at night. It was miserable every night when we told her it was time for bed. She was two and strong-willed besides (she still is strong-willed). She could pitch an Oscar-worthy fit in 3.2 seconds. She had a new little brother and was asserting her place in the family. Also? She was two.

Around that same time she would ask me 14, 783 times when we were going to do whatever activity I may have been stupid enough to mention to her more than 30 seconds before the activity would occur.

Frustration caused me to brainstorm and I decided to make Miss M’s first “Event Calendar” to see if it could alleviate some of our problems. I made a calendar block on the computer and printed it on bright paper. Then I wrote any upcoming activities on the calendar. Since she was only 2 and couldn’t read yet, I drew pictures to symbolize each thing. For instance if she had “school” I drew a building with a flag on a flagpole by it. If we were going to a birthday party I drew a cake with candles on it.

The calendar was going to do double duty though. Not only would M be able to look and see that a birthday party was still many sleeps away, but I was going to use the “marking off the days” to my advantage. At that age, M was very interested in stickers. I stocked up on fancy character stickers, flower stickers, etc. and explained to her that IF she went to bed like a big girl (no crying, screaming, hitting, etc.) I would put a sticker on her calendar to mark off that day.

It worked remarkably well. M would wake up every morning and go to the fridge (where her calendar was hung) to check to see what sticker she got. After a while, I’d let her pick which sticker she’d want to get before bedtime. We’d lay the sticker on the counter and I’d tell her that I’d put it on the calendar if she went to bed without a fuss.

Five years later I’ve slacked on getting a new calendar ready every month, but M especially still asks me when I’m going to get her calendar ready. I think we may be ready to just buy a regular calendar just for her activities now. I started a calendar for K when he started preschool 2 years ago too, though he didn’t take to it as strongly as his big sister did.

Sometimes we just get lucky as parents and find the perfect thing for our particular child. Perhaps you have a child that this will work for as well!


Jules said...

Drew LOVES his calendar still. Everything must be on the calendar - if it isn't, I get chastised :).

Madeline said...

That's a great idea. I'll have to store that one away...not for long though. I think Levi would be ready for it soon.

Stelie Designs said...

Great tip.

I've done calendars too and find it helpful, plus it's great counting practice too.