The Preschool years fall under the essential formative years of a child’s life.
These years are regarded as such because it’s a time when a child’s development in physical, intellectual, social, and emotional aspects of his character gains momentum.
Indeed, during this valuable period, your parenting skills are texted and should be exercised to the fullest.
This is, of course, easier said than done. Should you need a couple of practical pointers, we have collated some useful tips for you below:
1. Encourage their independence
It can understandably,can be hard for parents to let go of their natural tendency to support, guide, or correct their child in the things they do.
Are you the type of parent who can’t help but “remedy” your child’s attempts to be independent?
If so, then you are very likely going against what early learning teachers are teaching them at school about being more independent.
Do not underestimate your child’s capabilities at the same time it is important to raise expectations progressively.
Teaching Children about the value of independence and self-sufficiency should take precedence over a deficit approach, focusing on what they might not have done to your expectations.
Allow your child to solve problems on their own. Whether it’s a toy on a table, they can’t reach or a ball that got hinged between his rocker, resist the urge to address frustrations until your child asks for assistance.
Assign chores early on. For preschoolers, these tasks should be simple. It could be pouring milk into their cereals or watering the plants every day.
These tasks do more than just introduce independence, they also serve to boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
2. Do not be stingy with praises
Once you see your child do anything praiseworthy, seize that opportunity to commend her/him. Keep in mind that your child reacts strongly to both criticism and compliments.
And if you are more critical than positive, it can have damaging effects on a child’s self-perception.
If you catch your child behaving in a way worthy of praise (assuming it’s a rare event), make sure to let them know that you appreciate their efforts.
Small encouragements here and there, help children to make good decisions and adopt positive behaviour traits in the long run.
If you’re uncomfortable saying it aloud, you can always acknowledge their efforts with a good old kiss and hug.
Think of them as rewards, for your child regards them as no less.
3. Work as a team
You don’t have to be too prescriptive with your instructions or domineering as a parent. This can lead to unhealthy parenting.
Instead, let children make decisions by giving them choices. If they decide that they don’t want to do anything, try a reward system to motivate them.
The key is to be consistent with your enforcement strategies. Children are quick to figure out loopholes and how to play on inconsistencies, so be sure to stick to house rules and systems that children should already have a strong awareness off.
You will quickly realise that there are better ways to parent than practising strict discipline.
Working as a team, also means you tend to communicate and bond more through play-based learning, which is a tactic that a lot of preschool teachers use with great success.
Not only does this allow you to spend quality time with your child, but it also improves you and your child’s connection via active communication and collaboration as you make activities as creative as possible.
4. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses as a parent and learn to be adaptable
There’s no perfect parent. Just remember that you are always going to be the perfect parent to your child.
It’s important to realize your limitations and, in the same way, acknowledge the areas you excel at.
If you are a loving and caring parent, make sure you acknowledge this strength and use it to your advantage.
If you think you’re falling short in discipline or spending time with your child, accept that you have these drawbacks and try to make small adjustments to get better.
Be open to adjusting your parenting style because if you tend to stick to just one strategy, you and your child will find it very restrictive and frustrating in the long run.
It is important to note that a static parenting style often leads to setting unrealistic expectations on your child.
Making your style more flexible also sets up your parenting for the future. You’ll find this especially useful when your child inevitably enters adolescent years.
Once you do decide to adopt a particular style or strategy, do your best to be consistent with your parenting.
This way, your child won’t be confused about what she should or should not be doing. In the same way, it also advisable to not be too stringent with rules.
Going too far will only prove harmful to your child’s development. This is why it’s best to strike the right balance between leniency and strictness.
At the end of the day it is you who knows your child best, and you need to trust that this journey of parenting will help you and your child evolve as individuals.