It is never too early to start celebrating your child’s achievements in preschool. Some might think there is no point, considering the kids are typically three- or four-year-olds, but it is a way to let them know how much they matter and how proud you are. Celebrating milestones, such as with the following ideas, can be a beautiful way to strengthen your bond with your preschooler.
Let them choose from a surprise box
There is something so exciting about a surprise you know is coming, but you are not entirely sure what it is. Create a surprise box with preschooler-appropriate items from which they can choose.
Put a lid on the top so whatever item they grab is a total surprise. A few ideas include stickers, non-perishable snack packets, and puzzles. Check the recommended age to ensure they suit your child’s specific age.
Tell them directly they did a good job
A child hearing from their parent(s) how good of a job they did in school is vital. Look them right in their eyes and tell them how proud you are of their particular achievement, and make sure to end the interaction with a big hug.
Tell others they did a good job
Many children will light up when their parents and others praise them for doing a great job. For example, tell an aunt, close family friend, or grandparent about your preschooler’s achievement so they can reach out to the child and let them know how proud they are.
Get them a book or coloring book
Getting your preschooler a book or coloring book to honor their achievement is a way to celebrate the milestone while facilitating additional great habits. For instance, the book can inspire them to love reading, while a coloring book could boost their creative streak. You could surprise them with the item or take them to a local bookstore and let them pick the one that catches their eye. Consider putting a little note on the inside front cover, especially for the book, acknowledging that they received the item to celebrate their achievement.
Designate an area for achievements
Rather than having certificates, drawings, colorings, awards, and various other achievements scattered all over your home, consider designating one area to display them. For example, hang them on the refrigerator, a wall in a den or playroom, or on a wall in your child’s bedroom. You could also get one small bookshelf just for their achievements. Each year, as they go through school, you can take everything down and start fresh at the beginning of the school year with a blank slate ready for a new set of achievements.
Make a scrapbook you can do together
Another option, rather than openly displaying the achievements, is making a scrapbook that celebrates your preschooler’s milestones. You can do it together as a fun, creative hobby. Remember the embellishments, like stickers or faux flowers, that you can include to correspond with each milestone.
Consider making one scrapbook for each year they are in school with a note on the binding about what year it pertains to. As they get older, you both have something special on which to look back and browse through. It is a great way to see how they changed from one year to the following and what embellishments most resonated with them during that time.
Do something special together
Save doing specific outings or activities for when your child achieves a particular milestone. For example, you could go out to see a movie together or – if you prefer to stay in – have a sleepover and movie night on the living room floor. You could make up a list of potential options at the start of each school year, and when a child reaches a special milestone, ask them to pick something from the list.
Add to their collection
Children typically develop a short-term or long-term fascination with specific items and want to build their collections. Your preschooler is interested in hair bows, stickers, or action figures. When it is time to celebrate a milestone, choose a gift they can add to their collection, or you could take them to the store and let them pick out the object they most want.
Kids can get so much joy from being recognized for their achievements, even in preschool. However, they can also appreciate the reward, whether it is a material item or doing something special with you. Giving them these valuable memories throughout their school years can be an excellent way to show your support and pride while encouraging them to accomplish achievements for their self-worth.
Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare and Preschool.