Parenting Tips For Preschoolers

Preschoolers are amazing little creatures. They can go, go, go all day, absorbing huge amounts of information on the fly. Having helped four children of my own navigate this precious season of life, here are my 10 parenting tips for preschoolers.

1. Use your imagination.
Preschoolers do. Everyday, all day long. Their developing imaginations help them to make sense of their world and since they have limited experience, imaginations help them to fill in the gaps. Imaginative play helps them understand new concepts in a non-threatening way.

2. Why is the sky blue?
Preschoolers have a ton of questions and rightly so. As their parent, you are the resident expert on all things in life. What a wonderful position of influence! Preschoolers need simple and direct answers, so save the complicated, technically correct answers for their science class in a few years.

3. Be patient.
Preschoolers are eager to learn about everything around them. However, they have limited attention spans and vocabularies. This can lead to frustration! One of our daughters at this age was interested in information she couldn't articulate yet. Sometimes she would sit crying while we would play a guessing game, trying to figure out what she was wanting to know. Over time and as her verbal abilities developed, she grew into an extremely descriptive person. Your ability to stay patient will help your little one develop patience with herself, too.

4. Sympathize with their struggles.
Along the same lines as being patient is to sympathize and empathize with your preschooler's struggles. Let them know you understand how tough some things are for them and that you are on their side. This age group really likes the idea that someone is their champion; it will help them listen to you even when they don't like what you have to say.

5. Play grown-up.
Preschoolers are wonderful imitators of all things adult. Providing a dress-up box filled with your cast off treasures is one of the best things you can do for your little one's play habits. Read a good book, then act it out together and you'll be your preschooler's best friend for life.

6. Boundaries with a bit of freedom.
Your young child needs to know where the limits of behavior are in your family. So tell her clearly and firmly. Then enforce those limits as necessary. This gives your child a tremendous sense of security and establishes you as a leader in her life; both concepts she will need as she grows. Include a bit of freedom within those boundaries; "you can play anywhere in your playroom or bedroom with those toys, but not in the living room." Such boundaries allow her to practice making small decisions and to learn self-control.

7. Active is best.
Preschoolers need to be active! They are driven to move and explore. So make sure you include plenty of active time in each and every day. Television is not an active time so keep it to a minimum.

8. Educational toys are more fun.
Look for action-oriented toys that go along with your preschooler's action-oriented drive. One-use toys are simply boring at this age. Aim for toys that can be turned into multiple things and imaginative toys that require play-acting.

9. Enlist your preschooler's cooperation.
Appeal to your little one's sense of 'big girl' or 'big boy'. Ask him to help you carry the groceries inside or put the laundry away. Show how to fold clothes and set the table. If you start these simple tasks now, they will be habits by the time your child is old enough to do them well.

10. Sleep is good.
Make sure your preschooler gets an adequate amount of sleep each day. Some kids at this age still need naps, some do not. Your little guy or gal will function better, be more cooperative and enjoy each day more with the correct amount of rest. Make sure there is a quiet time in your home each evening that will signal to your preschooler that bed time is arriving.

There you have my 10 parenting tips for preschoolers. Enjoy this special time in your child's life as she literally absorbs the world around her. It is a magical time for children and parents alike and the relationship you forge with your child at this stage will stay with you both a long, long time.

Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 27 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com Visit her website and grab another 10 parenting tips today.

Tips On Effectively Disciplining Your Children

When you have children ideally your goal is to provide for them, teach and train them in the proper ways to live and act and to help them to grow into productive and wise citizens, contributing toward the betterment of mankind.

In order for this to be attributable in their lives, they will need a lot of instruction, guidance, communication, experimentation, life lessons, affirmations, discipline and love.

Discipline is frequently a misunderstood word. Many people think the word "discipline" is synonymous with spanking. This opinion is far from correct. During the course of a child's development the word "discipline" refers to the means by which the child is trained and character is built. The parent is teaching acceptable behavior and self-control, and this is discipline. For example when teaching a child to use proper manners, they will become disciplined by repetition, continual enforcement, and the proper example of the use of words such as "please" and "thank you." This repeatedly reinforced pattern of behavior means that the child is being disciplined to adopt that pattern. In order for a child to become disciplined, they must have a disciplinarian; children do not discipline themselves. Dedication toward the process is key!

Shouting is very counter-productive when attempting to discipline! For your child to listen and learn from you, you must remain calm and authoritative. If you are yelling at the child they will most likely tune you out and will not show you the respect they should be showing you. It is easy to become frustrated with the child and feel like yelling. When this happens, it is best to have the child go to his or her room, sit on their bed and think about what they have done. This gives you time to compose yourself and decide the best way to handle the situation.

There are likely to be times during the course of the child's life when the discipline will also require some form of punishment. Usually this is when the child has not only neglected to do what they have been instructed but is also belligerently defiant against a particular rule or request. I find that most of the time children will respond as you want them to if they are given 2 choices. For example: "Ok, you have two choices, either do your homework right now or you will be doing dishes every night for the rest of the week." Most kids are wise enough to see that they are far better off doing their homework now than doing dishes all week and will go ahead and do it without further resistance. If they should decide to do the dishes instead, the next thing to say would be something like: "Ok, you will be doing the dishes each night this week instead of doing your homework right now. I will grant you exactly one hour to play before you do your homework but then you will do your homework or you will also be barred from watching any television until next Monday." This is the "two choices" form of discipline with the possible consequence of punishment and it almost always works.

More often than not the positive approach to discipline is the most effective of all. The positive approach to discipline is to get the child to obey your will happily! For instance: "Hey, would you kids like to play a game of Uno with me?" "Yes!" "Ok, I'll tell you what, you get your rooms all cleaned up and things put away where they belong and I will play a game of Uno with you." This makes the child anxious to do what they are asked to do and they do not even recognize that discipline is being exercised. Be sure to check that they didn't throw things in the closet or under the bed. If they did, give them five or ten minutes to correct it. If it is not corrected in the time allowed tell them they will have to wait until after dinner to play the game and the room must be cleaned properly or there will be no game at all. Another example of this form of discipline would be: "Hey who would like to help me make dinner tonight?" "I would!" "Ok, hurry and pick up that mess in the living room and put it away properly, I am just about to start dinner and you may help me with it if the living room is cleaned up in time!"

If you want to get something done and you know the child will fight against doing it, use reverse psychology to get it done. For example: "Man I wish I had someone strong enough to help me move that huge laundry basket over to the front of the washing machine!" The child will tell you he is strong enough to do it. Challenge him by saying: "Oh no way, that basket is way to big and heavy for you to move it!" The child will do whatever it takes and will get the basket to the washing machine for you! Then be sure to tell him how very amazed you are at his superior strength! It is also a good idea to share his super accomplishment with someone else when he is listening. He will soon be offering to carry anything he thinks is heavy for you.

Praise is by far THE biggest motivator with children! Telling them, for instance, that you can't think of anyone that is better at cleaning the bathtub than they are, will surely get the child to clean the tub as clean as a whistle and the child will come out smiling from ear to ear after doing it! Be sure to make the effort to go and see the job done and praise it up and down!

Making games of discipline is also very effective. For instance, one could put a paper face on the mop handle, turn on some music and let the child pretend the mop is a dance partner as they dance the floor clean. Another effective way of making a game of discipline is to time a particular project to see how quickly it can be accomplished. Say Susie is always late to school because she dawdles instead of putting herself to the task. Start timing her without her knowledge. If possible it is best to use a stopwatch when doing this (many cell phones have a stop watch on them). Then show her the results when she is done getting ready. Tell her that you will be timing her again tomorrow and say: "Let's see if you can beat your own record!" If you have more than one child and they like to compete, you can see who is finished first. This sometimes will not work if the first child is always faster than the other; the slower child will quit trying. In these cases it is best to use the "beat your own record" method.

Nip things in the bud! I have found that a simple: "Ah! We don't whine!" Or, "Ah! That word is not allowed!" Or, "Ah! There will be no arguing!" really tends to put a quick halt to undesirable behavior.

Many parents are constantly telling their children, "You are grounded!" This punishment should be used (in my opinion) only in the most extreme cases, such as if the child ditches school, curses at or defies the teacher at school, or hits a parent etc. Over use of this punishment will produce a despondent and depressed child. They will remember the reason for the punishment much better if they are seldom punished this way.

Remember to communicate with your children from the time they are very small! Be their best friend and teach them that you are always interested in whatever interests them. Communication is a key element in proper development and good moral character building of your child. Have special nights out with your children one on one. This makes them feel special and helps them to open up to you more readily when their siblings are not around.

Remember also that experimentation is a big part of the growing up process. Sometimes this means the child will act foolishly. He or She will make choices that are by no means wise. They will need reassurance of your love as well as communication as to why their choice was a poor one, including what consequences could have happened and how they could have made better choices.

A child left without discipline in his or her life is going to be less happy, less productive and is much more likely to join a gang and/or commit crimes. Being a disciplinarian takes imagination and determination. It especially takes consistency or it will become more frustrating than effective. If you are not consistent the child will never take you seriously and will most likely produce a rebellious and defiant spirit. Be consistent from the very beginning! Never waver, never back down, and remember to communicate!

If you put these disciplinary principles into effect your child will be a blessing to raise and a treasure to your heart all the days of your lives. In addition he or she will likely go on to use these same practices when raising their own children someday.

Works Makes a Man Happy, not Leisure

Some people think that leisure makes a man happy. They argue that if a man has no duty to perform on the day or night, he can be happy. Those people think that work makes a man very unhappy because man has to work whether he likes it or not. If people have leisure time, they can go for travel, visit new people and places and enjoy life.


But I think leisure makes a man lazy and irresponsible. If man has nothing to do, he feels bored. On the other hand, if he is busy at work, he can be more productive. He can keep himself busy so he has no time to think of evil things in life. It is true that overwork is distressing but then if the work is satisfying it is also pleasant. Therefore, work is something that makes a man happy, but not leisure.