Can you imagine what it is like to be a little person? Can you imagine being totally dependent on other people to have your needs met? Imagine having someone else dictate your meals, sleep schedule, and expectations for behavior 24/7. As adults, we have autonomy and choice, but young children are reliant on their parents and teachers for guidance, limits and expectations. Having routines and schedules make up an important component to keep your household and our classrooms running smoothly. The more predictability and stability that children experience, the more opportunities there are for children to self-regulate and become autonomous themselves. In other words, when your child has a routine, it allows them to know what is coming up next and happily conform with your expectations. This is one of the secrets of how teachers are able to manage and enjoy 10 two-year-olds, while you may be tearing your hair out over your one two-year-old. Things happen in the same order and the same way most days at preschool.
While conducting a parenting workshop on children’s temperament and parenting styles, the conversation turned to guidance and discipline of young children. Parents were sharing some of the individual challenges and solutions with their children. I truly believe that we learn best from others’ experiences. One parent shared a tip that I loved.
This parent was talking about how she is able to get more cooperation from her son if she incorporates “FUMP speak” into her requests. For example, after dinner, she asks him to “pack up.” At school, that is the prompt for clear your eating area and put your lunch/snack away. At home, it means take your plate into the kitchen. He already knows what “pack up” means so they were able to recreate that same routine at home, with little effort because her child knew exactly what it meant. She does other things as well, but that was a great example.
Listen carefully to your child’s teacher when you are in their classroom. What words and phrases are they using? Can they be incorporated to your routines at home?