During stressful times it can cause your preschooler to act out or not be themselves. When we feel stress as parents our babies can feel that and most of the time will not understand or have a hard time finding words for emotions they feel. During this time at home I had my preschooler journal almost daily. I made the prompts very simple for him, explained different emotions as we went on, and made other fun activities to practice fine motor skills within his journal. This is a super easy thing to implement in your home, it can be fun for them and many great conversations can come from having your preschooler journal.
Start by getting a notebook, markers, pencils, stickers, bingo dotters, and any other fun writing items you may have at home. Having your kiddo decorate and write their name on the cover is a great way for them to take ownership and feel connected to their journal. One of the daily prompts I gave him was to draw something that made him sad and happy. It was really interesting to see what was on his mind daily. We were able to have good conversations about things that were bothering him and things that excited him. Depending on the age of your child, you could have them write along with their drawings, even if they are not getting the words all correct. This is also a wonderful way to include additional writing practice which will help them become more advanced in their writing abilities and gain stronger fine motor skills. I also introduced more advanced feelings of worried, excited, scared, and silly. I would also share my feelings of the emotions we were discussing in order for him to see that mom feels these things too. Take the time to really listen during this part of journaling, make it meaningful and fun!
I also included other fine motor and writing activities in his journal to keep him busy and have fun. Some other ways to practice these skills are having your child practice writing numbers and letters on their own or tracing. We would pretend he was taking my order; I would call out numbers, he would practice writing as if he were making a ticket. It was a fun way to make a game out of his journal writing. If your child is not ready to write on their own, find a highlighter or marker to trace out the numbers/letters for them.
Another fun activity we did was a sticker map. I made a wavy line for him to peel and place stickers on the line. We added a dot for the start and an X for the finish. Along the way we drew in small pictures to make it more like a map. He really loved this idea and had a lot of fun placing the stickers on the line. We usually give him small packs of stickers on holidays, such as in his stocking or with his Easter basket. I store them all in a pencil pouch which is handy to have and is easy to find and store.
Having a journal for your kiddo to have a space of their own to express their feeling is something I really recommend at least trying! We also do journals like this at YSA once they reach the preschool level. So having an even deeper connection from school to home will be beneficial! I love saving them for him when he gets older too. It is an amazing way to connect and see progress in your child in such a fun way!
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher