Family Helper > Post-adoption > Guide to Your Preschool Child

Adoptive Parents'
Guide to Your
Preschool Child

First edition, 2000
$12 / ISBN 0-9691868-8-6

By Jennifer Smart, BHScOT
Editor of Post-adoption Helper

The challenge for the adopted preschool child

Play and playthings
Activities kids enjoy
Understanding your child's behavioural stages
How children change in the preschool period
Self control and self management
Aggressive and prosocial behaviour
Developmental changes in aggression
Development of empathy and altruism
Emotional self constancy and self esteem
Identification and self development
The role of play
Parent's role in early child development
Different kinds of parents
Coherence of individual behaviour
Spoiling the child
Spoiling vs. balanced child rearing

Sault Ste. Marie Canadopt
Families support each other
New support group for Eastern European adoption

Tips on building a lifebook
That feeling of belonging
Graph a life
Leave room for more

Use the right words
Talk about "How you were born"
What to tell them

Check your child's understanding
Share information appropriately
Understanding the differences
Explain with positive emotions
Events trigger questions
Time for the extended family
Build the vocabulary of adoption
Your patience needed

Reinventing yourself
Accepting differences
Self esteem and race
Protecting from racism
A mix of backgrounds

A harmony of cultures
A creative cultural education
How I learned I wasn't Caucasian
Keeping touch with early contacts
Other kids "just like us"
Culture clubs
When culture takes root

How to order Adoptive Parents' Guide to Your Preschool Child

Occupational therapist Jennifer Smart has prepared an in-depth guide to the adopted child in the preschool years, from three to five years old. She covers how adoption impacts the developmental stages for this age group. She writes, "As adoptive families we have some added responsibilities to help our children successfully pass through these stages and be ready to head off to school." (For more, see the excerpt below.)

To get this invaluable guide, fill in this form and send, with your cheque, to: 220 Summerhill Rd., Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada.

Please send me one copy of Adoptive Parents' Guide to Your Preschool Child. I enclose a $12 cheque to "Robin Hilborn".
  Street address:

Price in Canada is Can$12. In the U.S., US$12. Elsewhere, US$15.
Robin Hilborn is publisher of the Post-adoption Helper series.

Adoptive Parents' Guide to Your Preschool Child is also available (No. 8) at a discount ($9) when you order four or more titles from the Family Helper series. See the form at Family Helper, and choose the editions you'd like to order.


From the introduction to the Adoptive Parents' Guide to Your Preschool Child
By Jennifer Smart, BHScOT

The challenge for the adopted preschool child

This edition of Post-adoption Helper is about the preschool child -- from three to five years old -- and how adoption impacts the developmental stages for this age group. As adoptive families we have some added responsibilities to help our children successfully pass through these stages and be ready to head off to school.

There are many books about child development but they have sparse comments on adoption and child development. So I've reviewed many newsletters and books from the past eight years and chosen what I believe to be the most relevant and useful references for your preschooler. I've also included some special topics you might not normally have thought about.

Developmental areas important to the preschooler include play, developing self-control, emotional development, school readiness and transmitting values. Then I've focussed on the issue of how a child comes to understand adoption issues at different stages and how parents can provide supportive age-appropriate education, activities and discussion. This education surprisingly includes basic sexuality so adoption issues can be understood more correctly. There are many concrete ways parents can help their children and so I have covered lifebooks and timelines.

As a co-founder and ten-year member of the Sault Ste. Marie Chapter of Canadopt, I truly know the value of an adoptive family support group. The preschool time is an especially good time for your family to become regular attendees of child-focused events. It's a fun, effective and subtle way to start addressing both cultural and racial issues. I've given you a range of support group activities -- you can design your own group, or find an existing group which meets your family needs.

You can read some basic information on developing self-esteem, and see how it relates to children's adoption issues, and cultural and racial identities.

I have briefly talked about school readiness. Many of our children arrived with a high risk for learning difficulties and you need to understand what's normal and what's not. Since learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or behavioural disorders start emerging at this early age, you need to be aware of early indicators and seek appropriate assessment and treatment. These early interventions may be critical to helping your child remain motivated in school and, ultimately, in succeeding in school.

My children are now in grades 3 and 6. Working on this edition of Post-adoption Helper brought back many happy memories and sparked some curious insights into their preschool days. Despite our challenges, my children are doing wonderfully, in part due to my being well educated on adoption issues, keeping open communication with them on their adoption issues and seeking out expert help when it was needed.

The preschool stage is just that, a stage which leads to another stage ... so believe them when they say, "Adoption is a lifelong process." Integrating adoption issues skillfully and positively at the preschool stage will certainly help you and your child navigate the next stage.

I hope you enjoy this edition and use it to enrich your child's development. This preschool stage is truly a magical time, and a special time to be with your child before they take that big step into the community and school. Try not to miss a minute of the time you are able to play and laugh together -- enjoy their curiosity and take lots of pictures.

I miss my little ones, their cardboard pirate ship in the living room and the front lawn puppet shows ... and I now realize that all the time I spent with them then was well spent, encouraging their skills, imagination and social awareness. They are competent school children today despite their academic learning challenges. My preschoolers have grown, but our early experiences together shine brightly in their eyes and the security of their attachment to me makes a solid base from which to grow through the coming adoption issues of adolescence.

How to order Adoptive Parents' Guide to Your Preschool Child

Infertility Adoption Adoption Resource Central Post-adoption Family Tree
Contact: Robin Hilborn,
220 Summerhill Rd., Southampton, Ont. N0H 2L0 Canada
Copyright 2009 Robin Hilborn. All rights reserved
Updated   Apr. 13, 2009

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