Many parents find their children’s behavior to be the most challenging during the preschool years. Preschool-aged children are naturally curious. They seem to have limitless energy and a desire to explore the world around them as they begin to assert their freedom and independence. While these things are all a normal part of the rapid developmental changes kids go through during this stage, parents will find it helpful to be equipped with these useful techniques as they navigate some of these difficult-to-manage preschool behaviors. These may be especially helpful if your children have already been exhibiting troubling behaviors (such as lying or tantrums.)

If your preschooler is exhibiting challenging behaviors at home, check out these useful tips:

Set clear guidelines on preschool behavior

Enforcing acceptable behaviors during your child’s preschool years requires discipline. In order to effectively instill in your child what is appropriate and expected, it’s important that your approach to discipline is coupled with love. This means that one of the first things parents need to make sure they provide is a nurturing and loving relationship with their children.

A healthy parent-child relationship is an excellent venue for instilling the right behaviors in children. When your connection with your child is loving and nurturing, it will be easier to set guidelines for behavioral expectations. However, it’s also important that you encourage and invite children to share their thoughts, rather than just directing them regarding how they should act. Ask children questions to check their understanding about what is expected and acceptable. Have your child cite examples of how he or she can exhibit these types of desirable behaviors in real life.

Establish routines

One of the benefits of enrolling young kids in a quality preschool program is that they are provided with a daily routine and structure. Because toddlers and preschoolers thrive on a well-established routine, it’s important that your little one knows exactly what is expected of him or her and what he or she can expect during each day. You can complement this life lesson by creating routines for them at home. From the moment they wake up until they get to bed at night, children benefit from knowing what their day will look like, when possible. For example, it’s comforting for young children to know that after they get up, they will eat breakfast, get dressed, and play.

Encourage and reward good behavior

An important aspect of positive parenting is recognizing and rewarding children’s positive behaviors. Be sure to show your child verbal appreciation each time he or she does something “good”, no matter how small it is. Be sure to recognize and point out situations in which you’ve observed your child show kindness to others, follow instructions, or even finish their veggies during dinner. Acknowledging and recognizing your child’s positive behaviors consistently is an excellent way to motivate him or her to continue exhibiting these types of behaviors.

Children need reminders

While young kids thrive on appreciation and recognition, it’s equally important that we remind them of our behavioral expectations. Be sure to stay firm with your “no’s” even if you’re on the verge of giving in to your child’s demands. Children may throw a tantrum or whine when they don’t get what they want, but it’s crucial that you remain calm and firm in your approach.

Allow children to experience the consequences of their actions

Parents don’t always have to be the ones providing rewards and punishments for their kids’ behaviors. Many times, children will learn their lesson organically by incurring the natural consequences of their actions. Let  kids experience the results of their own behaviors. For example, maybe you’ve already warned your child not to run too fast so he or she doesn’t trip. If your little one has stumbled because he or she refused to listen, this is an opportunity to talk to your child about what they’ve learned from their choice and experience.

Model positive behaviors

When it comes to instilling desirable and socially appropriate behavior in preschool-aged kids, nothing is more effective than teaching by example. Remember that children are keen observers. They keep an eye on your actions more than they pay attention to your words. If you’re calling your child for spending too much screen time, be sure they don’t see you doing the same thing. If you’re telling them to finish their veggies, be sure they see you eating your greens, too.

Managing preschool behavior in children isn’t always a walk in the park. With the help of these useful tips, your parenting journey can be much easier and smoother!

If you’re looking for more helpful parenting advice, or if you’re searching for a quality preschool for your child, please visit The Pillars Christian Learning Center.