Civilizing Preschoolers?

Civilizing Preschoolers? July 4, 2008

We’ve decided for several reasons not to put 3-year-old Bella in preschool in the fall. This has encouraged me to be a bit more intentional about helping her learn civilized skills at home, like hanging up her coat and washing her hands on her own before eating. Acquiring these skills is supposed to be one of the great things about preschool–very young kids learn these habits easily in a group setting with kids their own age, under the direction of a teacher rather than a parent. Surely we can achieve this in our household, too!

How have you ordered your home so that your young kids learn these grown-up skills? Examples I’m thinking of are, as I mentioned before, hanging up coats and handwashing. Also, clearing the table after meals, knocking before entering doors, things like that. What would 3 year olds be learning in preschool that I should be replicating at home? What skills are age appropriate for preschoolers, and what can be saved for later? Should I implement them all at once (as in, OK, this is home preschool and here are the ways we’re going to start doing things), or one at a time, and how often do we start on a new skill? Do you use charts and rewards or just launch right in and expect them to pick it up?

Thanks for helping me think this through!

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