The teacher feels your child is not thriving at preschool or school.
When children start preschool it can be the time when certain health issues become evident. It is not a time to panic but to work through some basic checklists to see if you can identify what might be going on.
Because we love our children and live with them 24/7 we are often oblivious to small signs or eccentricities in their behavior or personalities. We get to understand them and make allowances for them. So it can be confronting when the teacher points out some indications in your child’s responses or behaviours that may concern them.
We are often talking about subtle things which may not have been noticed in a one-on-one situation at home or within a family.
Good time to listen to the teacher and, together, work out what might be underlying the teacher’s concern.
Firstly the teacher is not being critical but doing their job of observing and caring and so it is not the time to feel defensive. Hopefully, it will be sorted out quickly and both parents and teacher can work together to improve outcomes for the most important person – your child.
What is the cause of concern for the teacher?
Is your child an only child; one who hasn’t had a great deal to do with other children or someone who needs a lot of attention, feels anxious? Your preschool teacher can talk through with you the behaviours she is observing. You need to work together to put in place some strategies which will support your child when they become overwhelmed or out of their depth.
At home you can reinforce those strategies. But keep in touch with the teacher to hear back how things are going at preschool and if the strategies are working at home.
Hearing and sight
It is often in an unfamiliar and busy (noisy) environment, that your child might have a difficult time hearing instructions or seeing the big book.
Does your child need to have their hearing checked, especially if they have been prone to having ear infections. This can be an important indicator. Being able to hear will help them to be fully engaged in all activities which will build your child’s connection, vocabulary, oral anguage and confidence.
How is your child’s sight? At preschool they need to interact with print and pictures when the group is on the floor at story telling time. Looking at the big books while sitting some distance away may be the first time that your child has been placed in such a testing situation. Not being able to answer questions may be because they simply cannot see what is being talked about and so cannot fully understand.
Audiologists and optometrists, especially behavioral optometrists, will be able to give exercises to strengthen both hearing and seeing. We want your child to be confident in their surroundings and learning.
Young children can still be very picky eaters by the time they get to preschool. Every parent knows how important it is to have good nutrition. It is never too late to set up routines and strategies to encourage good eating. But it can demand patience from parents and ‘baby steps’ to ensuring that a wide variety of healthy food is eaten.
Talk to the teacher and see what your child is eating at preschool, and what they are refusing. Together you could come up with some alternatives, supported by the staff.
Starting preschool is such a big change and so exacting for most little people. They want to do their best and join in.
Parents need to be firm about bed time and ensure that their child has adequate sleep. Although many preschools still have nap time for the three year olds, this is phased out as the children become older. Every child has different sleep needs, so keep in touch with the teacher.
Thread worms and lice
The dreaded thread worms can infest any child as do lice. This is not a matter of cleanliness or care. Worms can particularly make some children extremely fretful and irritable. It is often something parents can miss. Check them out at nightime as they are easy to treat.
Lice on the other hand can raise their ugly heads quite often. They need constant vigilance. Keep your children’s hair back and tied to help prevent their spread.
Healthy children are certainly happy children!