Parenting Preschoolers: 9 Mistakes You're Probably Making
Parenting a preschool age child is far from easy.
With its role brings with a long list of responsibilities. Many parents are unprepared for many of these responsibilities, especially when they are new parents.
When handling issues involving preschool children, we often rely on strategies we're familiar with or techniques our parents used when we were children. But they're not always the best way to parent a preschooler.
As a concerned parent, we want the best for our children. And we often think we know what's best for our child's development. But sometimes we're mistaken.
In fact, these mistakes can affect our child's long-term development and influence their emotional and social interactions that continue into their adulthood.
So you don't make these mistakes, we've compiled a list of the nine biggest mistakes people make and tips to help when parenting preschoolers.
1. Indulging Your Child
When you go shopping, your preschooler may ask you to buy them something.
Perhaps they'll ask for candy, a toy, or something else that appeals to them. Many parents are tempted to give in to his desire because they think it will make them happier.
Seems harmless, right?
Not so much. When we do this, our child will come to believe that they can get anything they want anytime they desire it.
This overindulgence teaches children to constantly desire more 'things.' It also teaches preschool children that the instant gratification of obtaining these toys, candy, and whatnot leads to his or her happiness.
Tell your child that they don't always need to get something from the store every time you go shopping. Help your child understand the importance of being grateful for the toys and games they already have.
2. Don't Give In To Temper Tantrums
Children can exhibit negative behavior when they don't get what they want. And when your child behaves this way in public, you might want to just give it to them make them stop this behavior.
When kids do this in a public place like a store or a restaurant, it can be embarrassing. Parents are ready to give in to appease them and keep them quiet.
Giving in to your preschooler's behavior teaches him that he can get anything he wants if he throws a tantrum. This can affect his relationships when he begins preschool and far into the future.
Every time he wants his way, he will throw a temper tantrum. As your child begins to start school, and later enter the workplace, he may become spoiled and react inappropriately when he doesn't get his way.
What To Do
When this occurs to your preschooler, take him aside and tell him why he cannot get his way and give him a time-out. He will associate time-outs with receiving discipline for his inappropriate behavior and learn from it.
In addition, he will know that you are a parent that cannot be walked on and taken advantage of. Teaching him positive behavior will help him interact better in relationships.
3. Being Overly Critical
All children make mistakes. When they do, it's important they don't feel berated for making an error. Yes, you can explain to your child how they could have done better. But whatever you do, don't reprimand them.
Parents that constantly criticize their children can cause the child beat themselves up whenever they make a mistake and feel that they must strive for perfection in everything they do, or else they are a failure.
This causes anxiety and unhealthy obsessions in a child. When parenting three-year-olds or parenting four-year-olds, praise your child for their good actions and positive behavior, even when they make errors.
4. Setting A Bad Example
Don't underestimate your preschooler. They are always observing your actions and mirroring your behaviors.
If you want your child to behave appropriately, you need to be a role model. When you're upset, don't react negatively or you might find your child repeating your behavior.
5. Being Overly Protective
We all want to protect our children.
But we can take it to the extreme. Acting like he's going to get hurt every time he plays outside, or not letting him make minor mistakes isn't good. It stunts his freedom to learn, develop problem-solving abilities, and learn on his own.
This behavior can also make a child fearful of making mistakes and doing activities. Teach your child that having sad feelings will go away and making mistakes are okay.
6. Ignoring Feelings
Many parents disregard and discount their child's feelings when they're crying over something that seems unimportant or trivial to the parent. Don't try to stop your child from crying. Let him express his feelings.
Validating his feelings will help him feel it's appropriate to have feelings Discounting feelings can make children feel confused about their emotions and lack compassion for others that feel emotional.
7. Lack of Structure
Develop a consistent routine in your child's day and stick to it. This way your child knows what's expected of her and doesn't get confused about activities.
Every child (or adult for that matter) needs structure. Structure can help your child's brain. That's why it's important to avoid skipping your child's routine. Don't skip naps and meals. This can also make your child cranky.
A good idea is to avoid planning activities too close to nap time or meal time. Creating structure now will help them to be structured as an adult.
8. Providing Too Many Activities
Creating structure is good for your child, but providing too much structure with no time for free play is not a good thing when parenting preschoolers.
During the preschool years, it is important to let your child enjoy playing. Too much structure will make some children difficult to relax and unwind.
9. Conflicting Parenting Models
It's natural for a mother and father to have different parenting experiences. But this can confuse your child and also manipulate the other parent.
Discuss discipline and rules with your spouse and make sure you're in agreement. If you both keep consistent in these parenting methods, you'll be the most effective parents.
Parenting Preschoolers: How To Fix The Biggest Mistakes
Now you know 9 of most common mistakes parents make when parenting preschoolers and how to fix them. Knowing these mistakes and applying these tips will help you to develop positive behaviors in your child that lasts for a lifetime.
Check out the Traveling Parent blog for more helpful parenting tips.