Is Your Pre-schooler in Charge: 9 Ways to Regain Control
Is your pre-schooler in charge? You may not realize it, but a three-year-old could be running things in your home. It sounds funny and a bit ridiculous, but it happens all the time.
I have seen grown adults cower many times to the cries of their pre-schooler and capitulate within seconds just to keep the peace.
If you think you might have a preschooler in charge, it is not too late to adjust things. But let me give fair warning, you are going to have a bumpy ride until the power has shifted back to you.
Pre-schoolers (or kids) do not like to be dethroned. Hang on for the ride!
In this post, I am going to give you nine possible ways you could have a pre-schooler in charge at your home. And I will give you nine ways to regain control.
9 Ways You Could Have a Preschooler in Charge
1. You give in to 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.
You’ll do anything to keep him happy so you do not have to deal with the noise
2. You allow disrespect/hitting/rudeness
You ignore bad behavior because you believe it will pass or that it really isn’t that bad. In fact, it is kinda funny and cute when he has an attitude. If you do this, you could have a pre-schooler in charge.
3. There are no consequences for disobedience or bad behavior
You believe your child didn’t really mean it or that he doesn’t need consequences because he is too young. Or maybe you think it could hurt his self-image or his feelings if you correct him.
He won’t really understand why you are punishing him anyways.
Related: 13 Easy Ways to Screw Up Your Kids
4. You bribe, yell, or beg your child to listen and obey
You don’t really believe your child will obey so you come up with all sorts of manipulation tactics to get results. And even those don’t work very well.
You constantly worry if your child is going to obey others when he goes somewhere else since he doesn’t obey you at home.
Related: Do You Yell at Your Children?
5. You do not have time alone
Your child is all-consuming. He envelops every part of your day. You do not have a set time each day for your child to play or nap by herself for a little while so you can get things done.
And by the way, you are exhausted and need a break for your own sanity.
6. There are exceptions to your rules-often
You have rules in place, but you don’t stick to them. You are constantly making exceptions “just this one time.” Only “just this one time” is most of the time. If you do this, you could have a pre-schooler in charge.
7. You and your spouse can never get away for a date
You can’t ever get away because your child wants and needs you all the time. Perhaps you are consumed with her and all of her desires.
You don’t want her to cry or be upset when you walk out the door. If you do this, you could have a pre-schooler in charge.
8. You do what your child wants all day
You give him the foods he wants by making separate meals, he decides when and where he sleeps, and what activities he wants to do during the day.
He does not easily comply with your plans. If you do this, you could have a pre-schooler in charge.
9. You want to be your child’s friend
You do not want your child to dislike you. Instead of being the parent, you want to be his buddy. You want to be fun and have a good time without any real discipline.
Maybe your parents were severe so you want to do it the opposite way. If you do all these things, you could have a pre-schooler in charge.
I realize you are going to do some of these things when you are a parent. That’s part of the learning process. I am talking about those of you who know deep down you need help to regain control of your home.
I have listed 9 ways to replace these behaviors with better options. Don’t enforce these suggestions unless you are mentally ready for a battle, and you are determined to regain control of your home. If you are wishy-washy, it won’t work!
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9 Ways to Regain Control of Your Home
You may be okay with the ways things are, but if you are not, here are some suggestions to reverse the roles back to where you, the adult, are in charge.
It won’t be easy, but it is better than waiting until you have a teenager in charge. That is much worse! Yikes.
If your child has a tantrum, then let him have it. Walk out of the room so he is not the center of attention. In fact, step over him so he knows you see him. And then leave.
If he is so out of control that it is over the top, have a consequence when he calms down. Don’t come back in the room until your child is done with the drama. That’s what it is, drama!
There are some things that should not be tolerated. This is one of them.
You are not doing your child any favors by allowing disrespect, hitting or rudeness. This behavior will never be acceptable in school or life so don’t let him do it now.
3. Give consequences
It is important for you to give consequences for bad behavior. Your child needs to know the difference between right and wrong.
A baby won’t understand, 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.
4. Expect obedience
Be sure of yourself. Your pre-schooler is not in charge, you are! Keep reminding yourself that you are the adult. Act like it.
When you don’t get obedience, have a consequence in place and then enforce it without emotion. It is a logical series of events.
If your child has obeyed, reward with praise or maybe a special privilege every once in a while.
5. Have a routine
Have a loose schedule for your day. In the schedule, include nap time and room time alone. Start the room time in the playpen first when he is a baby and then in his room as he gets older.
It will be a great break for you, and your child will learn to play alone. This is a skill your child will need to be school-ready. Start now!
6. Be consistent
Follow through with whatever rules you have in place. Do not make exceptions.
Most likely, you have trained your child to get what he wants by throwing a tantrum. Tantrums = get my way. Reverse it to tantrums = bad consequence.
Make sure you follow through with the consequence every time. Help him to see play quietly = praise. Don’t forget to give LOTS of praise for good behavior.
7. Get out with your spouse
It is so important to work on your marriage. Do things together without the kids. Focus on each other and keep the flame alive.
Without marriage, there is no family unit. Pinterest has many suggestions for ways to do date night on the cheap.
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8. Don’t offer many choices
You can eliminate battles with sugar, toys, nap time, etc. if you don’t give a choice or just a choice between two things. Have dessert on the weekend, rotate toys, and have a set nap time.
There will be no conflict over choices this way. You can add choices when your pre-schooler gets a little older and you regain control of the home.
9. Be the parent
Your child will have lots of friends throughout his childhood, but he will only have one mother and one father.
Don’t make the mistake of being a buddy. You can have wonderful times as a family, talk openly, disagree, and still be the parent. You will be friends one day, just not today.
If you are tired of your pre-schooler in charge, then I hope you will try these tips. They will work if you will be consistent.
Don’t give up!
It takes time to turn the power back to you. You will find your child will actually feel more secure when he knows the boundaries, and he can count on you to be the adult.
What things work well with your child?
Book on Family Estrangement from a Biblical Point of View
Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or in your favorite digital store.
Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.
Scroll down or look to the side to sign up. You can also get it at your favorite bookstore.
Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Parenting and Family. This is a place for moms with preschool age kids or older to talk about their struggles with parenting, family life, education, or marriage. You will find biblically based advise from other moms who want to raise godly kids.
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