“During lunch Mother read the older kids’ history book out loud. I kind of like it too. It’s about the Pilgrims who rode on the Mayflower. I like the Indians. She read more of it while we cleaned up lunch.
Right after lunch Josiah, Kara, and I picked out our stories for story time. We snuggled on the couch with Mommy and read them. I was so happy ‘coz it was my day, and I got to pick two stories today. I picked Curious George and a book about astronauts. Story time is my favorite time of the day.”
This excerpt from “Jonathan’s Journal” demonstrates two important components of a preschooler’s day: structure/predictability and story time.
I have written at length about the importance of consistency and structure for the preschooler (well, really, for all of us!). One thing that I tried to do for my littles was to have each day as similar to every other one as much possible. Obviously, life happens; however, my young children knew, for the most part, what their days would hold as long as we were at home during the week. This provided structure and predictability for my kids. Rather than, “Are we going to read stories today?” It was, “Is it almost time for reading?” Rather than, “Can I eat cereal and watch a movie when I first get up?” It was, “Can I choose the lunch book today?”
I found that having structure keeps children from getting bored. They know what to look forward to during each part of the day. Children get bored easily if they have an entire day or large period of time to fill (thus, the popularity of video games and television programs).
Within this predictable schedule, I liked to alternate child-led activities, parent-led sessions, naps, sibling-shared times, and more. Every moment of every day was not booked (as evidenced when you take a look at “Jonathan’s Journal” as a whole), but our preschoolers definitely did not determine what they wanted to do all day long every day.
Story time always took place after lunch. Again, this provided predictability. But it also prepared the young child for his afternoon nap (more on that in a day or two). Story time signaled a change in pace. Time to slow down, settle down, prepare for rest.
Story time is several posts in itself. So stay next week as I give story time tips, followed by story time suggestions—Newberry winners, Caldecott winners, Gold Medal winners, and Reish winners!