6 Significant Parenting Tips for Preschoolers

This is the age of adorableness and terror all mixed into one. Preschoolers are testing out their opinions, developing their personalities, deciding what they like and dislike and becoming independent, self-reliant human beings that may not mirror their parents’ ideas. They want to talk to you about what they see and think instead of just asking for things in one or two sentences. Their brains are growing fastest during these years and they want to find out what their bodies can do – run, jump, roll and climb. 

Parenting Tips for Preschoolers

Parenting a preschooler can be tough but with professional advice, you can find out how to handle the new experiences that you’ll be facing.

1. Safety Is Number One

Preschoolers think that they are the center of everyone’s world because they have been since birth. They see the world as an adventure to explore not a danger to their safety. 

  • Make sure toys and playground equipment has no sharp edges, loose parts or pointing pieces.
  • If you have a family pool, teach your child to swim and to wear a life jacket every time.
  • Every time your child goes outside, repeat the lessons about strangers - some grown-ups lie about being your friend.
  • Always have your child in a safety helmet when in a riding toy outside – sidewalks can cause brain injuries when a toys tips over.  
  • Teach your child that cars hurt if they hit you. Teach them to look both ways before entering the street and to never chase anything into a street.
  1. 2. Ensure Health and Safety

Your child’s health is especially important during these years. 

  • Television and video games should be limited to one hour a day. Substitute songs on CDs and spend a few minutes dancing with your child.
  • Choose toys that are safe for your child’s age – soft bats and balls, no small parts that can be swallowed, no pointy items that can poke eyes out.  
  • Nutrition is especially important for growing bodies. Limit the amount of bread and pasta that you offer; include salads, and green, orange, red and yellow vegetables and fresh fruit for snacks. Children do not need sugar or caffeine drinks at all. 

3. Teach Do-It-Yourself

Preschoolers benefit from doing things for themselves. Encourage them to do as much as possible without your help or supervision. 

  • When faced with a simple problem such as tangled toys, tell them that they can fix it and when they get frustrated, tell them you understand, recommend a break and then insist they try again.  
  • Don’t redo anything they do. When shoes are on the wrong feet, mention it but do not change it for them.  
  • Assign one simple chore a day. It can be different each day but only one a day.  

4. Encourage Them to Cooperate

You and your child will discover that you are different people and your child wants your respect as well as your approval. 

  • Use the word “no” only in emergencies. Replace it with “try it this way” or “let’s do this together”.
  • Praise your child often for doing what you expect them to do as well as for creative attempts.  
  • Set up specific routines, such as where to eat meals, when to take naps, how long to watch television or movies.  
  • Prompt working as a team, such as put toys away together.  
  • Offer specific choices limited to 2; this shirt or that, this crayon or that, this vegetable or that. This is a great way to let them choose a vegetable for dinner.  
  • You must be in charge of what your child does. Do not get bullied or charmed into doing things your child’s way if it breaks your rules.  

5. Teach Self-Control

Discipline is not the same as punishment. The goal is to teach your child to control their own behavior when you are not around – which will be very soon.

  • Change your child’s focus to change their actions.  
  • When your child does something wrong, such as grabbing a toy from another child or coloring on the wall, force your child to correct their action – give the toy back and apologize, wash the crayon off the wall with you and apologize to you for hurting your property.  
  • Take action immediately. Do not wait for the other parent to get home, do not threaten to tell on them.

6. Cultivate a Love for Reading

Reading is the most important skill a person needs for their entire life. These are the best years to plant the seeds for your child to love reading. 

  • Take time to read each day. Bedtime is an ideal time to read together.  
  • Use funny voices, make sounds that are inspired by the story and ask your child if they can do some action that the story speaks of.   
  • Make the story interactive. If a character is rolling on the ground, get down on the floor and do it with them; ask your child what one of the character’s voices sounds like and imitate it.
  • Name everything in their life – nose, mouth, my nose, your nose, your bowl, my plate, red chair, black television etc.  
  • Preschoolers’ attention span lasts about 15-20 minutes. When they shut the book, even if the story is not done, stop reading and go about your own chores.  

A Few Mistakes Parents Make With Preschoolers

Know this: You will make mistakes in child-raising. Be conscious of your reaction and try to avoid these destructive mistakes as much as possible:

  • Noticing the negative more than the positive. Avoid the words “don’t” and “no”. Instead use “this way is better” or “throwing can hurt your arm” or “hitting hurts everyone”.
  • Scheduling multiple activities for the same day. More than one or two activities in a whole day is too many for a preschooler. Instead alternate a physical activity with a quiet activity.  
  • Freaking out when your child lies. Children mimic their parents’ behavior. When your child fudges the truth, he is trying to be tactful – he doesn’t see it as bad because you do it too. Don’t freak out and call your child a liar. Instead ask your child if he is trying to prevent you from being mad.  
  • Thinking structured play is better than unstructured activity. Programmed play is not play – it is a chore disguised as play. Play is a creative process expressed in actions and is supposed to stimulate imagination, enhancing problem solving and thinking skills and exploring the realms of pretend. This is how a child’s brain grows the fastest and skills develop sooner.  

Looking for some parenting help? Watch this video to get some real parents’ playtime tips for preschoolers: