Having an older sibling with special needs is going a long way in this endeavor.
But, we also know that we could be doing more. While she is not yet in preschool, we are still trying to figure how to teach our preschooler to get along with others. We know that this skill will go a long way and that it could take time to develop. We hope that it will help you as well when it comes to modern day parenting skills.
How do children learn to get along with others?
When it comes to our parenting style, we have tended to blend positive parenting with compassionate parenting. We’ve come to agree on several things that we want to teach our child. And we also acknowledge that there will be many outside influences. As Squeaker transitions out of toddlerhood and into preschool age, we’re also considering what to do.
We have the option to send her off to early PreK or wait until next year to start with PreK. One of the benefits of sending her this year, will be getting her used to being at school all day. On the other hand, I could continue to work on an informal home preschool plan for her. We’ll keep you updated on this and have that post up over the summer.
One of the other reasons we’re considering sending her is so she can spend more time around children her own age.
It is expected, no matter what, that a child might have a hard time with another child while in preschool. Such is life. But part of the bonus of a child in preschool is that they learn early social skills. So it’s important that you encourage certain behaviors from your child at home that will hopefully play out at preschool as well.
Here are ways to teach your child how to get along with the other preschool kids.
6 Ways to Encourage Your Preschooler to Get Along with Others
* Observe the classroom. Not in a confrontational way, but in an informative, “I want to get to know what my child does all day and with who” sort of way. Knowing all of the players is a good start so you can talk to your child about the different preschool kids and teachers he sees on a daily basis.
* When an incident happens, talk to your child about what he observed. Young children might not have the vocabulary so you’ll have to help him along. So something like “How did Billy look when you hit him?” “He looked sad, right?” “Did he want to play with you anymore after that?” Talk about how we have to do nice things to get someone to be our friend.
* Use positive reinforcement. Make sure you praise all of the positive things he does. Get the preschool teacher involved in this, too. Ask her (or him) if she could try to catch your child doing something nice (sharing a toy for example) and be sure to praise your child for doing so.
* Encourage your child to make amends. There are going to be times when mistakes are made, so it’s important that you teach your child how to apologize and make things right. For example, he could draw a picture for the child he wronged.
* Talk to him about feelings. Be specific when something happens. Not just bad things – talk about the things that make him full of pride and how he can do that more often to be proud of himself for doing the right thing.
* Kids need a chance to learn how to work things out. So don’t be quick to rush in and fix things right away after one incident. Talk to your child about it, but don’t run to the teacher with all sorts of ideas of what she can do to fix things. The next time your child might handle things differently, so give them the opportunity to work these things out on their own.
Courage and kindness is something that can most definitely be learned and taught.
It’s best learned by example, so make sure your child sees you doing all of these things when you’re struggling to get along with someone. A child is never too young to begin to learn proper social behaviors so don’t blow it off as a “well, he’s just two” or “boys will be boys” sort of thing. Children are anxious to please, so they are really easily taught these behaviors.
And it’s best to do it at a young age.
Other ideas for teaching your preschooler to get along with others, is to teach kindness:
- Start a kindness jar
- Follow a kindness calendar
- Build a kindness tree
- Make kindness stones
- Print out kindness cards to share with others
Something else that you can try, is to introduce a kindness journal.
For younger children, a blank page is included. Prompt them to cut out pictures or to draw a picture of how they can be kind. For children who are learning to write, they can either use the lined pages or the pages with space for ideas. The pack contains 6 pages all together.