Parenting preschoolers is not for the faint of heart. You may not realize it, but your three-year-old could be running 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 preschoolers and capitulate within seconds just to keep the peace.
It is not too late to adjust things if your preschooler is in charge at your house. Let me give you fair warning, you are going to have a bumpy ride until the power has shifted back to you.
Preschoolers (or kids) do not like to be dethroned. Hang on for the ride!
In this post, I am going to give you nine positive parenting tips for parenting preschoolers. But first, let’s talk about behavior.
9 Issues You May Have With Your Preschooler
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. Parenting preschoolers is hard when they are out of control; it is easy to do whatever it takes to pacify them.
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, your preschooler will continue in this until he is a teen. Having a rude teen is no fun, believe me.
3. 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.
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. You are not sure about parenting preschoolers; it is almost too much to figure out how to get them to do what you want.
5. You have no 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 because your preschooler is in charge and you are not.
6. You allow 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 preschooler 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. It is just easier to stay at home.
8. You do what your child wants all day long
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.
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!
9 Positive Parenting Techniques to Help With Disciple
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 who rules your home. 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 into the room until your child is done with the drama. That’s what it is, drama! Parenting preschoolers isn’t easy. Don’t give up!
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 preschooler 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. Parenting preschoolers takes patience and repetition. Don’t give up.
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
When parenting preschoolers, make sure you follow through with whatever rules you have in place. Exceptions need to be rare. They are just that-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 when parenting preschoolers. 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.
8. Offer limited choices
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 conflict. Some things should be non-negotiable like bedtime, nap time, and healthy foods.
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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.
I know it’s hard parenting preschoolers. Just keep being consistent despite your child’s behavior.
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.
How do you recommend parenting preschoolers?
For more help, check out these tips from Dr. Dobson’s Family Talk.
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