Demystifying the Preschool Years
a book by Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum, published by Alfred A. Knopf


Part One: SCHOOL

1. Choosing an Early Childhood Program
• When to Start
• Learning About Schools
• What to Look For
• The Application Process
• Making Decisions

2. What Is Preschool? Orienting Yourself and Your Child
• The Curriculum: What Children Learn at School
• Home-School Communication: Speaking with Your
Child’s Teacher
• How Parents Can Participate in School

3. Separation: Easing the Way
• Before School Starts
• Saying Good-bye: Feelings, Styles, Techniques
• The Adjustment Period: When Problems Arise
• Recommended Books

4. The Social Lives of Children
• How Children Socialize
• When Problems Arise
• Playdates
• Birthdays
• Overscheduling: Afterschool Activities and the Importance of Downtime
• Recommended Books

5. Understanding Your Child’s Development: What to Look for and When to Intervene
• Developmental Benchmarks: Physical, Language, Social, and Emotional
• Problem Behaviors
• When to Seek Professional Intervention: Working with Special Educators and Therapists
• Recommended Books

6. The Transition to Kindergarten: Getting Ready
• Choosing the Next School
• How to Apply: School Visits, Interviews, Testing
• Making Decisions
• When Preschool Ends: Feelings and Closure

Part Two: HOME

7. Day-to-Day Family Life
• Routines
• Transition Times: Mornings and Evenings
• Bedtime and Sleep Issues
• Mealtimes
• Manners
• Recommended Books

8. The People in Your Child’s Life
• Setting Priorities in Family Life
• You and Your Partner
• Grandparents
• Caregivers
• New Babies
• Siblings and Sibling Issues
• Recommended Books

9. Discipline: Setting Limits, Saying No, and Accepting No
• Why Is It So Hard?
• How to Set Limits
• Avoiding Conflicts
• Discipline Tactics
• Typical Problem Behaviors: Name-Calling, Bathroom Talk, Tantrums
• When to Seek Professional Help
• Recommended Books

10. Developing Morals and Ethics in Children
• Guiding Your Child Toward Ethical Behavior
• What Do Children Understand?
• Lying, Stealing, and Cheating
• Developing Empathy
• Volunteering as a Family
• Recommended Books

11. Self-Help Skills and Independence: “I Want to Do It Myself!”
• Supporting Your Child’s Growing Independence
• Toilet Training
• Blankets, Pacifiers, Bottles, and Sippy Cups
• Washing, Dressing, Eating, and Drinking
• Recommended Books

12. Play: Why, What, and How?
• How Parents Can Support Play
• Tips for Toy Shopping
• Toys, Games, Materials, and Activities
• How Children Play: Independent Play, Play with Others, Play with You
• Play and Gender
• Superhero Play
• Screen Time: TV and Computers
• Recommended Books

13. Talking About Difficult Topics
• Transitions and New Experiences
• Moving
• Sex
• Divorce
• Illness: When You or Your Child Need to Go to the Hospital
• Death
• Recommended Books

14. Time Together: Weekends, Holidays, Traditions, and Vacations
• Places to Visit and Things to Do
• Holidays: Making Traditions and Finding Meaning
• Family Vacations: Where to Go and What to Do
• A Final Word: This Time Together Is Shorter Than You Think

website: Judith Motzkin
Author photos: Elena Seibert