How to Talk to Preschoolers?

For the last year, I have been teaching a class of two and three-year-olds at an international kindergarten in Bangkok. The students in my class come from a variety of backgrounds: Korean, Japanese, Nepalese, Thai, British, Vietnamese, Chinese, German, American, and Indian. I feel that the best thing I did to help my students develop was to TALK!

It can be challenging to keep their attention at times, so here are a few ways to talk to your preschoolers in school so that they will listen.

Teach in an International kindergarten in Bangkok

Make Eye Contact

When disciplining your children, get down to their level, look them in the eyes (not too intensely!), and say what you need to say (you can even get them to repeat it). I find that yelling, especially from afar, is very ineffective and can become a bad habit because your students might also model this behavior.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement rather than just saying “No, no, no.” First of all, saying “no” all the time is just exhausting! I found that giving praise and small rewards such as stickers or being first in line for snack are much better motivators. Using positive reinforcement for good behavior will encourage them to do more of the good behavior and less of the bad. You could also say things like “We use our walking feet inside. You can use your running feet outside, okay?”

Keep Instructions Short, Simple, and Direct

To help your students follow directions, keep it short, simple, and direct. Children are more likely to follow instructions if they have a sense of control. Try using one or two-step directions such as “First take off your shoes then go wash your hands.”

Use an Appropriate Tone of Voice

My verbal tone was key when teaching the two and three-year-olds in my class. Whenever I welcomed a new student, I found that a calm, soft, gentle, and affectionate tone to be most effective in helping the child feel comfortable. However, it did NOT work when trying to guide or discipline my students—Instead, a firm tone worked much better. Try to match your facial expressions to your tone- children are more sensitive to nonverbal cues than you think!

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Did you know it takes 21 days to create a habit? Repetition is key for learning and mastery of new skills to take place. I like to repeat explanations so that my students know what will happen next. For example, I say “In 10 minutes, we are going to tidy up for lunch!” then “5 minutes until clean up!” This also provides them with a sense of time. As well, I’m a strong believer in kids having manners so I get my students to repeat words such as “please,” “thank you,” “sorry,” and “excuse me.” The more you repeat instructions or general rules of behavior, the more your children will accept them. Don’t give up!

While it is challenging to teach a bunch of 1 to 3 year old kids, it is very rewarding and such a learning experience for me as a nursery teaching in an international kindergarten in Bangkok.

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“Weird” is Just a Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective

Thailand is country that is full of many weird and strange things, but it’s good to remember that “weird” and “strange” are a matter of perspective. These things may seem different to you, and may make you think “What in the world? That’s something you don’t see every day!” However, these things are completely normal to Thai people. I can’t even count how many times something has turned my head, made me take a second glance, and made my jaw drop, but that’s the fun of it. These weird things are part of the culture shock- some are exciting and entertaining, while others can make your stomach turn. I got a chance to experience it while teaching English in Thailand.

Surprisingly Delicious
deep fried frogs in Thailand

One of the most enjoyable and interesting things that you will not only see in Thailand but eat as well, is the food. This is the case in most foreign and exotic places you travel to, but for me Thailand and all of South East Asia has definitely taken the cake. Since I’ve been here I have seen all types of insects that you can eat, from grasshoppers to scorpions, with stingers, pincers and all. On a daily basis, I walk by markets where they sell live toads, eels, and even turtles, all for the purpose of consumption. The driver for the school I work at offered me some of his deep fried frogs for a snack at lunch, which to my surprise was very delicious. However, there are still many things here that I haven’t gotten around to trying. Next on my list… rat?

It’s Not Always Easy

Though many things in Thailand are exciting and unique, not everything has been easy to look at. This is partially due to my personal background and morals, which I understand are not the same across the world. It can be difficult sometimes to see something you don’t ethically agree with on a personal level, but have to understand the different cultural norms. One day we were riding in the back of a tuk-tuk when I looked to my left, and to my disbelief I saw around twenty-five live chickens tied down to the back of a moped. It took me by surprise that they weren’t in at least a cage of some sorts, but tied down in a heaping pile of feathers. As I looked in aw, taking out my phone to try and capture this bizarre moment, I realized that everyone around me was staring as if I was the strange one!

Weird food in Thailand

Sometimes I forget that “weird” is a matter of perspective, that here in Thailand I am the one who stands out as strange and different. That is the beauty of the world we live in! It is full of so many diverse and unique cultures and no matter how far you travel, I guarantee you will find unique and beautiful things (Thailand will not disappoint!)

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