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Parenting preschoolers is not for the faint of heart. You may not realize it, but your child could be running your home. It sounds funny and a bit ridiculous, but it happens all the time.

Perhaps it’s cute now, but it won’t be so cute when your child goes to school. If this is happening at your home, it is not too late to adjust things.

Let me give you a fair warning: if you decide to shift the power back to you, it will be a bumpy ride, so be patient.

Preschoolers (or kids) do not like to be dethroned. Hang on for the ride!

This post will give you ten parenting preschooler tips to be an awesome mom. It integrates the 5 C’s of parenting (self-control, compassion, collaboration, consistency, and celebration).

First, let’s identify some challenges that may be happening in your home. If you identify with these problems, keep reading for the solutions.

RELATED: Facts About Parenting: 3 Insider Secrets Moms Don’t Talk About

10 Challenges of Parenting Preschoolers

If you are struggling to establish a routine, set limits, praise, use consequences, or reinforce biblical values, then these behaviors may be taking over your home. Check out these ten challenges of parenting preschoolers:

1. Tantrums

The first sign of a tantrum you give in, or after a couple of minutes of crying, you crater because you can’t stand to see him upset. Perhaps you hate conflict, and it’s easier to comply.

2.  Hitting/lying/attitude

After tantrums, hitting, lying, and a bad attitude are some of the biggest parental concerns of preschoolers. When bad behavior occurs, you ignore it because you believe it will pass or isn’t that bad.

Perhaps you think it is kinda funny and cute when she has an attitude.

3.  No consequences 

When disobedience happens, you believe he will do it right next time, or maybe he doesn’t understand. The world tells you it could hurt his self-image or feelings if you correct him.

RELATED: How to Discipline Kids: 29 Easy Ways to Get Kids to Obey

4. Bribing or begging 

Your child obeys sometimes, but only with bribing, begging, manipulation, or other tactics to get results. And even those don’t work very well.

You constantly worry if your child will obey at daycare, preschool, church, or Mother’s Day Out.

You are unsure about parenting preschoolers; it is almost too much to figure out how to get her to do what you want.

RELATED: How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids: 7 Easy Tips to Be a Calm Parent

kindergarten school readiness checklist pdf

Get your FREE KINDERGARTEN SCHOOL READINESS CHECKLIST PDF to help you prepare your preschooler for school!

5.  No time alone

Your child is all-consuming. He takes all your time when you are home. You do not have a set time each day for your child to play alone (not on a screen) or nap alone.

And by the way, you are exhausted and feel drained.

RELATED: 7 Best Tips For Getting a Baby to Sleep Through the Night

6. Exceptions

There are rules in place, but you don’t stick to them. Perhaps you constantly make exceptions “just this one time, only “just this one time” is most of the time.

This happens a lot with screens. You don’t mean to use them so much, but you need your child to sit and be quiet.

See also  How to Discipline Kids: 29 Easy Ways to Get Obedience

7. Neglect marriage

Over time, you have noticed a decline in your marriage.

You rarely go on dates because your child always wants and needs you. Perhaps you feel guilty because you are at work all day and don’t want to leave him again.

Or it costs too much to leave.

You are more consumed with your child’s needs and have forgotten your spouse’s needs.

8.  No clear boundaries

You give him the food he wants by making separate meals. He decides when and where he sleeps and what activities he will do during the day.

He does not easily comply with your schedule.

RELATED: How to Deal with Picky Eaters: 3 Easy Tips That Really Work

9.  Lack of spiritual training

There is no time to talk about God, and you do not make time to attend church. Faith is not an important part of your life; it is irrelevant. She can decide what she believes when she is older.

RELATED: Feeling like a Failure as a Parent? 6 Tips to Overcome

10. Lack of patience

By the end of the day, you are easily irritated. (Perhaps it starts in the morning!) Sometimes, you get so frustrated. How long does it take to put on a pair of shoes!? You know it’s not right, but you can’t help it. Argggh!

Parenting Preschoolers: 10 Positive Parenting Tips That Will Change Your Life

Parenting preschoolers is about establishing routines, boundaries, and a firm foundation in God. It can be rewarding and challenging, as these young children are in a crucial developmental stage.

Check out these ten positive parenting tips to help you navigate this stage of parenting:

1. Teach problem-solving skills

Tantrums are normal; it’s what preschoolers do. They don’t have the skills to express what they want or need. Your job is to teach another form of communication that is more appropriate.

Help your child develop problem-solving skills by encouraging other ways to express frustration. Before they talk, you can teach sign language for simple things like eat, stop, cup, etc.

If you have trained your child to get what he wants by throwing a tantrum, it is important to reverse this behavior consistently. In the past, tantrums meant getting my way. Reverse it to tantrums = consequence, and patience = praise and rewards.

RELATED: 50 Easy School Readiness Skills To Teach at Home [Printable Checklist]

Healthy marriage and family fights

 Dealing with marriage or family issues? Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or buy Marriage Interrupted or Estranged at your favorite digital store.

2. Model appropriate behavior

Children learn by observing. Model the behavior you want to see in your child, including how to handle stress, conflicts, and daily tasks.

Check yourself. Are you having tantrums, bad attitude, or defiant? Do you yell and scream?

Don’t allow poor behavior to go unchecked in yourself or your child. Waiting until your preschooler is older will not make it any better. Many times, it becomes entrenched.

Appropriate behavior starts with you setting the standard in your home consistently.

RELATED: How to Raise a Kind Child: 17 Ways to Love Others

3. Set clear expectations

Establish clear and simple rules. Preschoolers are more likely to understand and follow rules when they are straightforward and consistent.

A baby won’t understand much, but a child somewhere around 12 mos. to 18mos. starts to understand “no.”  “No” and other creative forms are good because it sets protection boundaries.

See also  How to Stop Yelling As a Parent: 9 Secrets Exposed

Many times, you can redirect bad behavior. Is he hungry? Does he need a nap? Is his diaper soiled? Can you move him to another activity? Have you spent time together holding and playing?

RELATED: Teaching Character Traits: 9 Positive Traits That Are Godly

4. Use positive reinforcement

Continually praise your child for good behavior and accomplishments. Positive reinforcement can motivate and encourage your child to continue making good choices.

When you don’t get obedience, have a consequence your child already knows will happen. Reinforce it without emotion. Make it a logical series of events.

RELATED: 11 Awesome Tips For More Intentional Parenting [Printable]

5. Establish routines

Preschoolers thrive on routines. Establish consistent daily schedules for meals, playtime, and bedtime. Predictability helps them feel secure.

It will be a great break for you to teach your child to play alone. They can play in the playpen for a bit when younger and then move into a “room time” when older.

This skill is crucial for school readiness. Start now!

RELATED: How to Create a Family Schedule and Keep Your Sanity

6.  Be consistent

When parenting preschoolers, follow through with your rules. If you stay consistent, they will get the message.

Many times, bad behavior, nightmares, and general over-stimulation are due to screens. It doesn’t matter if it is educational or not. Screens are not good for them. Keep it to a bare minimum.

Preschoolers need to play with simple toys like wood blocks, colors, books, etc. Lights, sounds, and lots of movement are too much for the brain, and they do not teach fine and gross motor skills.

While some of the fancy new toys seem cool and fun, the old-school toys are better for development. And by all means, keep the iPad to a bare minimum, if at all.

40 Fun Reading Activities For Pre-School and Elementary-Age Kids

7. Encourage independence

Allow your preschooler to do things on her own whenever possible. This helps build confidence and fosters a sense of autonomy, including being left with safe people.

It is so essential to work on your marriage when parenting preschoolers. Do things together without the kids. Focus on your spouse and keep the flame alive.

Without the marriage, there is no family unit.

RELATED: 11 Tips For a Successful Marriage: Best Kept Secrets You Won’t Find on Instagram

8. Communicate effectively

Use clear and simple language when talking to your preschooler about expectations. Encourage her to express her feelings and thoughts, but then make the best decision for her.

You can eliminate battles with sugar, toys, playtime, etc., by having your child choose between two things that are both acceptable to you.

This gives your preschooler a feeling of power yet eliminates the power struggle. Things like bedtime, nap time, and healthy foods should be non-negotiable.

RELATED: 4 Awesome Reasons to Be a Stay-At-Home Mom: Is It Right For You?

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Parenting preschoolers; girl looking away

9. Talk about God

It is important to talk about God and read the Bible to your child daily. (Get a children’s Bible.)

Read Bible stories in times of non-conflict that reinforce positive character traits such as sharing, patience, kindness, and love. This will reinforce your expectations in a fun way.

Pray together and attend church regularly.

Find a BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) group and attend with your preschooler. You will be amazed at what they teach your child while you are in your class

See also  45 Super Fun Reading Activities Your Kids Will Love

Spend time alone praying for your preschooler. You need God’s help when parenting preschoolers.

RELATED: How to Pray For Your Children: 6 Tips to Pray In Your War Room (really pray)

10. Be patient and understanding

Preschoolers are still learning to control their emotions. Be patient during meltdowns, and help them understand and express their feelings appropriately.

I know it’s hard parenting preschoolers. Just keep being consistent despite your child’s behavior.

Your child will feel more secure when he knows the boundaries and can count on you as the adult.

RELATED: How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids: 7 Easy Tips to Be a Calm Parent

How to Best Parent Your Preschooler?

Remember that God uniquely designs each child. Some preschoolers will be more excited about playing outside, while others want to stay indoors and color.

Be flexible and adapt your parenting style to meet the individual needs of your preschooler.

Building a solid and positive relationship with your child during these early years sets a foundation for their future development. The most crucial foundation incorporates the 5 C’s: self-control, compassion, collaboration, consistency, and celebration through Jesus.

This is the best way to parent your preschooler–with God’s help.

Parenting preschoolers is challenging but so rewarding. What suggestions do you have? Comment below.

For more help, check out Dr. Dobson’s Family Talk tips.

Are You Struggling to Have a Healthy Marriage? Do You Want to Change Your Spouse?

Get Marriage Interrupted: How to Deal with Unexpected Conflict as a Couple and Stay in Love on Amazon or any digital platform. This book has humorous and impactful insights for anyone experiencing marriage conflict.

Included is biblical advice to help couples develop new behaviors and strengthen their marriage with healthy boundaries. With over 30 years of marriage experience, there are practical tips to overcome old behavior patterns and rekindle a marriage relationship rooted in God’s love.

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Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you struggling with family issues that have resulted in a family rift or a family estrangement? Are you feeling a sense of shame, anger, or rejection?  Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store.

In it, I share my own experience of a seven-year estrangement from my Christian family and how we eventually reconciled. Furthermore, I provide practical advice to help you navigate your family issues.

Don’t let the pain of estrangement hold you back. Allow God to assist you in healing, no matter what has happened within your family. Remember, there is always hope to be found, even when things seem to be falling apart.

A farm scene with a farmhouse upside down sitting on a grass field with a lake in the background. Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family so that you have more time to be intentional with your kids. It includes a schedule, too. You can get it at your favorite digital bookstore.

Join the group Christian Family Living on Facebook

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the Christian Family Living group. This is a place for Christian women to freely talk about parenting, marriage, faith, family, and culture. Being a Christian is hard! Let’s do it together. Most of all, a sense of humor is required. Got memes? Bring it on!

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Julie is a wife, mom, teacher, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, parenting with a touch of humor.

38 Comments

  1. It can be tough as a mom to keep all of these things in check. When you’re emotionally exhausted it can be easy to give in to a fussy toddler, but I agree with you on the importance of maintaining control.

    • Yes, it is hard. As moms, we juggle so many things at once. When a toddler continually gets his way is when it is time to make a change. Thanks for reading.

  2. I’m the worst about giving too many choices. I want to empower my three year old daughter to make decisions but by offering too many choices she believes we always do only what she wants. Time to gain some control!

    • Yes, good luck. You may have a few days that are kinda tough, but it will be so much better when the balance is restored. Take care.

  3. I see a lot of this happening with parents, and it is frustrating. The same reason their kids are out of line at the playground, restaurant, etc. Great thoughts and tips!

    • I am so glad you agree. It is frustrating to have to suffer through other kids bad behavior especially when they act ugly in public and are not reprimanded. Thanks for reading.

  4. These are really great tips! I’m a little on the flip side with structure. I have friends who couldn’t or wouldn’t do things because it was their child’s nap time or something because of their child. I think they liked to use their child more as an excuse, but it’s no way to live your life if your schedule also evolves around your child. Everything else was spot on!

    • I totally get that. I loved a schedule. But to each his own! I enjoyed being home during the nap time because I took a nap, too. I am also more of an introvert so I liked being home. Ha Ha. So you are kinda right. Thanks for reading.

    • Oh goodness. Maybe you can mysteriously shoot this to her. I guess she would kinda know, huh? Hopefully, it will help her. Thanks for reading.

  5. Monidipa Dutta Reply

    I am not yet a mother but I love reading this. It educated me a lot.

  6. Thank you..”Great information in how to raise a responsible …but now…I dont have a child…:D

  7. Great information in how to raise a responsible and well mannered child. Discipline and never give in no matter how loud they cried. Let the audience look at and stay calm and be firm when they do that yelling. If we ever let go, the child will know they can get away the next time with another yelling.

  8. As a mother of 6, I love this list. I always felt bad for the parents of Kids who rule the nest.

  9. Beautiful blog..most families go through this with children…one has to be firm and reasonable…
    The tips given are very practical..

  10. Great tips! I agree that it’s important not to give in, once you say the consequence you need to stick with it.

  11. I could think of a few parents that could benefit greatly from reading this post and taking on board your advice. It is just ridiculous how many parents effectively get bullied by their own children and simply accept the situation! Love the straight-forward tips you have provided here.

  12. I agree with you and Donna! It’s so important to have a consistent routine and not do all what the child wants. Also, how it got so harder to raise a young child with teaching what is right and what is wrong. Personally I don’t have child but this is something I need when I have child in the future.

    • Hopefully, these tips will be something you keep in the back of your mind for when you have little munchkins. Thanks for reading.

  13. I forwarded this article to my spouse. I think it really will help our family and our relationship dynamic. Thank you so much for posting this, it was very timely for our family.

    • Thanks, Abby. I am so glad this was helpful for your family. It is hard to know how exactly how to do things. It is an experiment. Sometimes things get a little crazy and you have to reassess.

  14. It’s very sad the direction society is headed. Some children are being raised with no sense of what is right and what is wrong.

  15. My children are grown now, but boy do I remember the challenges! When you are tired after working all day it may seem easier to give in, but in the long run you’re making it more difficult! My oldest was the biggest challenge. I couldn’t give an inch. I agree with your advice!

    • I can’t imagine working all day and then coming home to kids. Kids take a lot of energy. Thanks for reading.

  16. My little guy is no longer a toddler but he did try to test the waters. I found that consistency and not giving in always won.

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