Archive | February 2017

Perks of a Parent Participation Preschool

I cannot express just how much I have enjoyed having both my kids in a parent participation preschool. This was a new concept to me until I had my daughter Amaani.

What is a Parent Participation Preschool? For us, it looked like this…

     BABY

WigglesAt 5 months, I put Amaani in a Wiggles Class. All the babies would play with toys and do tummy time together while the parents would discuss different topics each week like ‘How to Sleep Train Baby,’ ‘How to Start Feeding Baby Solids,’ etc. Then we would sing songs with babies, have some free play and free time for the parents to talk to each another. The class would close with bubbles, circle time and a goodbye song. I am now taking my son to this class and he loves looking at the other babies!

                  AGE 1-2 YEARS

Field Trip to the FarmAt this age, preschool was two hours a day, one day a week. The toddlers got to play outside, do multiple art projects, do songs and dancing in circle time, eat snacks together in regular chairs (not high chairs!) and go on field trips.

The best part was seeing my daughter grow with the same kids, one who is her best friend. At the beginning of the school year the kids could not drink water in regular cups. Together, by the end of the year they were drinking water without spilling and they were serving their own snacks. As a parent, I could re-enforce the lessons learned in class- at home.

             AGE 2-3 YEARS

At this age, preschool is 3 hours, two days a week. On one of those days I am a ‘work’ mom. Work moms have different responsibilities like bringing snacks, setting up art stations, watching the kids play outside, etc. My daughter LOVES this class. And the best part? I can bring my baby boy with me too!

I get to dance and sing with my kiddos. I watch Amaani do at least 3 art projects a day usually relating to the current holidays and seasons. She learned how to count and recognize letters in this class. She goes on educational field trips. She explores different musical instruments.

Not only is Amaani learning, but I am too. The parents get to go to discussion one day a week where the teacher shares topics like “Age Appropriate Behaviors” “Temper Tantrums,” “Teaching Children to go Potty,” and “Empowering Your Child to be Capable.”

preschool4preschool3preschoolOverall, the parent participation aspect has planted so much confidence and independence in Amaani and at the same time been an incredible bonding experience for both of us. The school believes in play-based learning so she is learning so much every week but the learning happens in a fun way. Moments when I witness her reach new milestones….or when I get to watch her go on a field trip to the farm or to the post office and mail her first letter …or watch as she and her friends put Valentine’s in each other’s hand-made mailboxes…bring the biggest smile on my face! The whole experience has been priceless.

preschool5

 

How We Prepared Our Toddler for a Sibling

Our daughter Amaani was about 17 months when we got pregnant again. It was as if she sensed something was changing because about two months into the pregnancy, she became very clingy and started acting out.

A nurse told me mammals can sense when there is a baby in mommy’s tummy and don’t be surprised by the sudden change in behavior.

I took Amaani to my ultrasounds and doctor visits. At first, she wanted nothing to do with it. She would tell me there’s baby on the “TV” but toss the ultrasound picture. She didn’t want to talk about it with grandparents either.

But her attitude toward the pregnancy completely changed when we put together a Pregnancy Announcement / Gender Reveal video and made her the star of it. Suddenly, she was so excited that she was going to be a big sister.

I realized afterwards that up until then, we were talking about “baby” coming but she didn’t understand what that would mean for HER. When she learned she was going to be a big sister and one day, she could take baby brother to the beach and make sand castles with him, she was so excited about what was happening. Making the video excited her and for us, it was a way to celebrate our “second baby.”

Some other things that really helped-

BOOKS – We read her books like “I am a Big Sister” to prepare her for what was going to happen. These books really helped, especially in preparing her for the hospital trip mommy and daddy would be making. She knew that when the time came, she would be having a sleepover at her friend’s house. The books also helped show her what she could do when baby came, like throw away dirty diapers!

BABY CHICKENS – I bought some eggs from Toys R Us that you put into a jar of water. I had Amaani watch this jar and how the egg changed over 7 days. She watched as the egg gradually hatched and a baby chicken came out by the end of the week. Seeing this process taught her that the baby chicken doesn’t come out quickly, it takes time.

ENGAGING WITH BABY– I encouraged her to talk to baby. I told her baby brother could hear everything she was saying. She loved to kiss my tummy to send kisses to her baby.

GIFTS FROM BABY– We bought her this toddler kitchen set which she absolutely LOVED and told her it was from her brother. When we came home from the hospital, we also brought gifts ‘from brother’ at that time. She loved the gifts from her baby brother and it helped them get started on the right foot.

OTHER TODDLERS WITH SIBLINGS – Anytime one of our friends had their second baby, we would excitedly point out to Amaani that her friend had now become a “big brother” or “big sister.” She knew her turn was coming soon!

I'm a Big Sister!

I’m a Big Sister!