Handling arguments with your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted December 20 2010 12:28pm
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When you and your preschooler argue it can be hard to keep your cool, but there are ways to handle these squabbles that will help resolve the situation and hopefully cut down the number of arguments you face. 

An argument is hard on everyone involved. Tempers flare and it's not always easy to stop and listen to what the other person is trying to say.

It's important to remember that there are at least two sides to every argument. And that there are complicated feelings at work on both sides. While you may be feeling that your child isn't recognizing your authority, your child may be feeling she isn't being heard, and that her views and feelings aren't important to you. Both of you are sure to be feeling frustrated and hurt.

It is good practice to repeat what you heard your child saying.  For young children, they may have some trouble saying what they really mean and it is helpful to make sure you are getting their message.  For example:  “What I hear you saying is that you want to finish the show before you clean you room.”  If your child agrees that is what they are saying you can then give your position. 

When someone feels you are listening to them it is usually easier for them to listen to you.

Validate the child’s feelings.  “I see that you are angry,” or “I hear that you are feeling upset,” are great statement to make that let your child know you not only hear what they are saying but what they are feeling.

Identify if feelings are getting in the way of solutions.  When feelings are high it can stop anyone from listening, but especially a child, who sometimes stops listening and responding to you.  You cannot reason with a child who is in the middle of a temper tantrum or starts to stomp their feet.  Let the child know that you know they are angry, or upset, or frustrated, but they need to calm down before you can talk with them.  Give them some space and time and do not get into any discussion or arguing while they are in their “temper.” This is a great life skill to teach a child while they are young and one that many adults have not learned well. 

Also, if your emotions are overwhelming you, let the child know that you need to calm down before you go on.  This is great modeling.  Once you are in control of yourself you can sit down with your child to go through their side and to give yours.  

Don’t go on forever. Once all has been said it is time for a solution or decision.  If it is something small you may consider having the child make the decision.  If it is something more important or a consequence is required then you need to make the decision.  Once made, the message to your child is that the arguing is over.  There is no appeal court.  If your child continues to argue the best response is silence or to ignore them.  Follow up on whatever the decision is and give them time to calm down and respond.

Acknowledge their behaviour, Comment when your child behaves in the way you want them to act; For example; “Thank you for saying what you think so clearly,” or “Thank you for calming down so we can deal with the problem.” Or “Thank you for doing what you need to do and not arguing anymore.”


Do you and your preschooler argue? How do you handle it? What advice would you give for other parents? Leave a comment below and share your experience.


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Making toilet learning easier for your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 06:23pm
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Here are a number of things you can do to make toilet learning easier for both you and your preschooler:

Help your child become familiar with what learning to use the toilet is all about. Before and during the learning process, read stories about using the toilet such as Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel. Explain to your child in simple terms how food and drink become "poo" and "pee," and what the potty and toilet are used for. Remember, to a little child, a toilet is a big hole that makes a lot of noise. It's common for some children to think they might fall in and disappear, or that a monster might come out of the toilet after them.

Choose a low-stress time to begin your child's use of the toilet. Toilet learning works best when both you and your child are relaxed. Avoid times when he is dealing with change, like the arrival of a new baby in the family, a move to a new home, parents’ separation or starting daycare.

Help your child get started by saying that it's time to start using the toilet like Mom or Dad. Allow her to watch other young children or family members on the toilet, to help her get the idea. Let her have her dolls or stuffed animal pretend to use the potty. 

Use a potty chair. It allows children's feet to touch the floor, helping them to feel more secure. It also allows them to get on and off without having help. Include your child in picking out a potty chair. Let your child just sit on the potty to get used to it, wait at least 1-2 weeks before starting any toilet learning  Reading a short story to your child while they sit on the potty may help them to relax as we.. 

Stay nearby while your child is on the toilet or potty, and don't make him stay any longer than he wishes to. 

Dress your child in loose clothes that he can easily pull up or down.  Use training pants or "pull-ups" or cotton underwear once he has been successful for 1-2 weeks.

Help make "going to the washroom" part of your child's routine, by giving reminders like, "Let's take a potty break." Encourage her to use the toilet or potty right after meals, and just before and just after sleep. And when she says she has to go, act fast!

Teach bathroom hygiene. Show your child how to wipe properly after peeing or pooing-girls should wipe from the front to the back. Both boys and girls will need help with this particularly after a bowel movement. Show your child how to wash his hands after using the potty or toilet.

During the process, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Be patient. It may take a child 3-6 months before the diapers are gone for good during the day. Some children learn to control their bladders first others learn to control their bowels first.  Bladder control through the night takes longer than day control.  It can take several months or even years for your child to stay dry during the night.
  • Expect accidents to happen.  Be calm do not overreact or blame, shame or punish your child.  Have a change of clothes easily available. Accidents are common until about five years of age -- ask any kindergarten teacher! And even when your child is staying dry during the day, naps and nighttime will still pose a challenge -- this kind of control will take longer. 
  • Also, a child who has learned to use the toilet may start wetting her pants or the bed due to stress or change. This is common and doesn't usually last long, in terms of daytime dryness, but nighttime bedwetting may take longer to reinstate. 
  • Try not to use words like dirty, stinky, smelly - this may make some children self conscious about using the potty or the toilet.
  • It's very important to compliment your child's attempts, even if he misses. 
  • If your child resists toilet learning, back off and try again later; he may not be ready yet. To not force him this will only make it more frustrating for both of you. 

Finally, remember that every child is different, so don't worry if your child takes longer to be fully toilet trained.

Talk to your doctor:

  • if your child was using the toilet for several months and has now regressed; 
  • she is withholding stool; 
  • she is experiencing pain or 
  • there is blood in the urine or stool; there is a rash;  
  • is over 4 years old and not able to control his bowels or bladder 
  • or you have other concerns about your child’s toilet learning

How did you handle toilet learning with your preschooler? What advice would you give to other parents? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.


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Teaching your preschooler to clean-up his toys

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 06:48pm
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Sometimes it seems to be impossible to get your preschooler to clean up his toys. Our experts say that this is normal. Encouraging your child to cooperate and complete chores can sometimes be frustrating. Try to avoid a battle of wills:

Warn your child ahead of time that "soon it will be time to tidy up."

Make it into a game or something you do together. For example, "how fast can we get the toys cleaned up?" or "let's put these toys to sleep" - make it something you can enjoy together. Cleaning up doesn't have to be the end of your fun together or the end of play.

Encourage your child to participate in making decisions. For example, allow your child to choose between picking up the stuffed animals or putting away the blocks. Allowing him to have some choice will communicate to your child that you respect his individuality. If children feel that they have some control, then they are more likely to cooperate.

Recognize your child's contribution toward helping clean up and acknowledge her positive behaviours.

Remember to set limits and be consistent. It may seem easier to clean up yourself, rather than taking the time to make sure your child participates in chores. However, this creates the risk of encouraging further stalling and delays during clean-up in the future. Be patient and remember that learning to complete chores cheerfully takes a long time.


How did you encourage your preschooler to clean up his toys? What worked and what didn’t? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you.



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Help! My child doesn’t want to go to school

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 08:16pm
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Some children become very anxious or scared about going to childcare or school. This is especially common in September, or when your child starts in a new setting. But it can happen at any time. The typical signs are complaints about feeling sick, crankiness, tantrums, saying he can't find things or refusing to get dressed or get in the car. This can be very stressful and frustrating. And it is usually difficult to tell whether he is really coming down with an illness, or whether he is anxious and developing physical symptoms that look like illness.

As a general rule, it is good to send a child along to daycare or school, unless they have signs of illness such as a fever or a sore throat. The longer children stay home when they are not sick, the harder it is to return to school. So it is better to send them, even if they are upset. Teachers and caregivers are very accustomed to dealing with this type of anxiety. And by all means, alert the school or daycare provider to what is happening, and ask them to monitor your child's health.

However, if you and your child have had a bad morning where he has become very upset about not wanting to go to school, find a time when you and your child are both calm to try to find out what went wrong. Talk with your child about his school fears and worries. Explain that there is no choice about going to school, but that you appreciate how he feels and will try to help.

Then talk to your child's caregiver or teacher and ask for help and advice. Sometimes anxiety can be eased by something as simple as the teacher changing your child's seat in the classroom. Or you or your child's teacher may notice that he is having difficulty making new friends. You can help in this situation by inviting these other children to play in your home.

If you are feeling guilty about leaving your child, she may pick up on these feelings and become anxious herself. Therefore, it's very important to show confidence that you know your child and your child's teacher or caregiver will have a good day when you leave them.

What do you do when you preschooler refuses to go to school or daycare? Share your experiences here with other parents just like you!


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