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Are You Having A New Year’s Preschool Panic Attack?

By Karen Taylor

Let’s chat about your Preschool New Year’s Resolution, or should we call it your New Year’s Panic Attack?  It’s mid-year, and about the time when some parents start feeling the clock ticking away as their little ones are a half year older and closer to being school aged. Have you done enough? Should you be worried?

Knowing that some children are in preschools, where teachers may attempt to teach academic subjects, doesn’t help the panic. Just remember that if young children are being asked to spend their precious waking hours learning things they aren’t ready for, then there are critical needs that won’t be met. That means that if you provide a quality play experience for your child, he/she will end up with the educational head start!

I recently watched a documentary describing Sweden’s preschools – they encourage play and exploration and are doing just what you are doing in providing a non-academic enriched life for your young child. Like homeschoolers, the Swedes are also demonstrating that delayed academics leads to strong literacy levels when the kids are older. The Swedish preschools are more successful than regular preschools, and your home preschool will be more so, because your children have a loving parent home with them. You just can’t beat that!

If you are spending quality time with your preschooler every day in an enriched environment, you have nothing to worry about.  You can continue to relax and enjoy your year. Here is a mini list of things to keep in mind:

  • Talk to your child frequently and with respect. And just as important, listen respectfully, because preschoolers have a lot on their minds that they need to share with someone.
  • Read picture books to your child every day, visit the library weekly, and bring home stacks of books to enjoy together.
  • Provide puzzles and blocksalong with dress-up clothes, puppets, and things that inspire imagination.
  • Let your child participate in cooking, shopping, and cleaning.   Doing.  It’s all interesting to a preschooler.
  • Have paper and other art supplies available. Play classical music at home or in the car, along with other music that you enjoy.
  • Provide physical outlets every day, preferably outside – regardless of the weather!  Kids need the activity, but they also benefit by seeing what is happening outside, since every day is different.

Do you have to be in the middle of every project? Only for the reading and question answering. For much of the day, it’s OK to provide the wonderful fun things and then let your young children play and discover on their own. They don’t need you there teaching them all day long.  It’s enough to just be nearby, ensuring their safety and also being available for their questions.  They may never again have the freedom to decide what they want to do, so let them enjoy this carefree exploring time of their lives.

This is doable for the busiest of parents. But hey, wait a minute! Did you see what is NOT on this list? There wasn’t one mention of a workbook or preschool curriculumThat’s because you don’t need it.

You don’t even need so-called “educational” toys (have you noticed how just about everything is labeled “educational” these days?).  We parents are a vulnerable market for those who would like to sell us things our children don’t really need.  If you need to save your money for other things, don’t worry that your child will be missing out and will be behind. It’s not going to happen!

I hope this helps you. Everyone’s panic attack will look a little different, so send me an email with the details of what is on your mind to:

Karen Taylor provides regular homeschooling information and mentoring on Facebook and she is the director of Cedar Life Academy, a Private School Satellite Program (PSP) for homeschoolers in California.

Karen would like to know your questions and concerns about living and learning with young children. Send them to her at and she may address them in a future article.

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