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, it’s going to be a bumpy ride if you decide to shift the power back to you, so be patient.
Preschoolers (or kids) do not like to be dethroned. Hang on for the ride!
In this post, I am going to give you ten positive parenting tips that will change your life. 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.
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 10 challenges of parenting preschoolers:
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.
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 that it 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 his feelings if you correct him.
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 is going to obey at daycare, preschool, church, or Mother’s Day Out.
You are not sure about parenting preschoolers; it is almost too much to figure out how to get her to do what you want.
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 by himself.
And by the way, you are exhausted and feel drained.
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.
7. Neglect marriage
Over time, you have noticed a decline in your marriage.
You rarely go on dates because your child wants and needs you all the time. Perhaps you feel guilty because you are at work all day and you don’t want to leave him again.
Or it costs too much to leave.
You are more consumed with the needs of your child and you have forgotten the needs of your spouse.
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.
9. Lack of spiritual training
There is no time to talk about God, nor do you 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.
By the end of the day, you are easily irritated. (Perhaps it starts in the morning!) Sometimes you even yell. You know it’s not right, but you can’t help it.
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 both rewarding and challenging, as these young children are in a crucial stage of development.
Check out these 10 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 yet. 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. You can teach sign language for simple things like eat, stop, cup, etc. before they talk.
If you have trained your child to get what he wants by throwing a tantrum, it is important to consistently reverse this behavior. In the past, tantrums = get my way. Reverse it to tantrums = consequence and patience = praise, rewards.
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?
Don’t allow poor behavior to go unchecked. Waiting until your preschooler is older will not make it any better. Many times it becomes entrenched.
Disrespect, hitting, or attitude will never be acceptable in school or life, so don’t let him do it now.
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 of it are good because it sets boundaries of protection.
Many times you can redirect bad behavior. Is he hungry? Does he need a nap? Can you move him? Is he bored?
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 in place that your child already knows will happen. Reinforce it without emotion. Make it a logical series of events.
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. This is a skill your child will need to be school-ready. Start now!
6. Be consistent
When parenting preschoolers, make sure you follow through with whatever rules you have in place. They will get the message if you stay consistent.
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, nor do they teach fine and gross motor skills.
7. Encourage independence
Allow your preschooler to do things on her own whenever possible. This helps build confidence and fosters a sense of autonomy. This includes being left with safe people.
It is so important 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.
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. if you give a choice between two things that are both acceptable to you.
This gives your preschooler a feeling of power, yet eliminates the power struggle. Some things should be non-negotiable like bedtime, nap time, and healthy foods.
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9. Talk about God
It is important to not only talk about God but also 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, love, etc. 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
Spend time alone praying for your preschooler. You need God’s help when parenting preschoolers.
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 he can count on you to be the adult.
How to Best Parent Your Preschooler?
Remember that each child is uniquely designed by God. Some preschoolers will be more excited about playing outside, while others want to stay in and color.
Be flexible and adapt your parenting style to meet the individual needs of your preschooler.
Building a strong and positive relationship with your child during these early years sets a foundation for their future development. The most important foundation includes biblical instruction that reinforces positive character traits.
This is the best way to parent your preschooler–with God’s help.
Parenting preschoolers is hard but so rewarding. What suggestions do you have? Comment below.
For more help, check out these tips from Dr. Dobson’s Family Talk.
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