by Tyson Beazley
Preschoolers are at that awkward in-between stage. They're no longer babies, but not quite ready for all the independence they're convinced they deserve!
These little "grownups" are delightfully inquisitive, but maddeningly intense! Here's your game plan to not only survive those preschool years, but also bring out the best in your child!
These tips come from our own parent "brain trust" at Pregnancy.org. If you have other tips to add to our list, tell us in the comments!
Versatility, otherwise known as "pick your battles," minimizes conflict. Preschoolers want to expand their ever-growing wings. Try fostering this newfound independence by letting them make decisions:
• Which of these outfits would you like to wear?
• Would you rather have an orange or a banana?
• Would you like to play with toys another five minutes or read an extra book tonight?
Preschoolers have small bladders. Small bladders means lots of "stops" no matter where you're headed. If venturing out and about, get to know where the closest facilities to "go potty" are located as chances are, your tot won't always give you fair warning.
Be ready to ponder the questions of all ages as you get peppered with "Why's," "How's," and "Where's." Believe it or not, your child isn't always looking for a lengthy lesson but wants more of a simple explanation. But this is just so they can move on to the next burning question like, "Why is the sky blue, momma?"
Enjoy the magic of splashing in a puddle, squishing in the dirt to make mud pies, bug inspections, and laying back to find pictures in the clouds. The dirt will come out in the wash. So will the grass stains. Keep track of all their really cool ideas in a special notebook you have for such occasions. I've been known to ask my own mother about the things I used to say or do.
Even if your child gets up and plays nearby, it's a good idea to continue reading as long as they remain in earshot. You're building up their vocabulary, not to mention traveling through time and space. The other part of this is exercise is listening to your young orator. Young children can be entertaining storytellers, engaging conversational partners and frustrating negotiators.
Preschoolers are developing more hand and eye coordination. A craft box containing safety scissors, glue, colorful paper of various weights and textures, scraps of material, pipe cleaners, "googly eyes," feathers, buttons, crayons, colored pencils and if you're feeling brave finger paints, can help your child explore that creative side. It also keeps them busy for at least five minutes.
Involve your child in your weekly shopping excursions. Certainly you could go faster without their "help," but you'd be missing opportunities to introduce new fruits and veggies, teach counting and pricing, and basic reading skills as they learn to spy your items on the shelves. They will probably try to bribe you with some product because they've been, "so good!"
Enlist your preschooler to do simple tasks such as mixing or pouring ingredients into bowls to help prepare a meal. They can also learn to set (and later clear) the table and will enjoy having an "important" role as you sit down to eat together! Helping to build self-esteem is important!
Grab this opportunity to be a "kid" again! Skip, run, hop your way to help burn off all that never-ending energy for your child and as a bonus, calories for you! Try hopscotch, soccer, "catch," hide and seek, or even taking a walk together. Indoors, try hosting a "tea party," camping out in the living room or sock "basketball". These are memories waiting to happen.