Toddlers and preschoolers have a charismatic charm which make them quite different at this stage of their life. Their charm and adorable gestures are a delight to see and experience. However, unwanted or unfavorable behavioral outcomes can also be integral at this stage. Bedtime problems, eating hiccups, skewed toilet training and many other things can drive you crazy and even compel to re-consider parenting skills for betterment.
But before concluding anything, you must know that a problematic preschooler is not present in your home alone. Many parents like you are fraught with the apprehensions of handling their small ones.
While many aspects of parenting should come spontaneously and over time, you may need expert skill to handle some of the components. Find useful tips on dealing with your problematic preschooler and enjoy the precious upbringing days with loads of enthusiasm and fervor.
How to Handle a Problematic Preschooler
Better Communication for Improved Connection
It is very important to communicate properly with your small one because the child may not understand (as you want him to) everything correctly. Children at this age can be extremely egoistic. Logic and reasoning are not their subjects now, although being completely illogical is not expected even at this stage.
Good communication should start early to maintain the decorum of parent-child relationship. It can yield positively throughout childhood and later in adulthood to establish a strong bonding which can go beyond fear and authority. Expression and communication are important tools to deal with kids. Non-verbal communication can impact more than verbal communication.
Maintaining eye contact is important when communicating with children and can increase its effectiveness. Positions and postures are also important as these express body language as a negative body language (through crossed arms or crossed legs) can be a bad thing. When talking to kids, the tone and facial expression also play an important role. Smiling, tucking or even winking can communicate your proximity and attachment to your child.
Eating Sessions As Fun And Interesting
Young children can be too fussy when it comes to eating and finishing their food. Some children might resist eating altogether and keep you fretting for nutritional and health aspects. Inculcate good eating habits right from the beginning. As far as possible, have family eating sessions where every member shares the dining table. Eating should be fun and rewarding, not boring or cumbersome. Present food in an interesting manner and explore innovative ideas in serving even the regular food.
Children are more inclined to eat when you make food interesting for them. Occasional snacking may be fine but do not make it a habit to give a packet of chips (or anything like that) when your child craves for eating. If your child is hungry, prepare something healthy to eat. But avoid being a short notice cook just because you do not want your child to be hungry. This can become habitual and create problems later in life.
Effortless Bedtime And Sleeping Sessions
After a trying day, the last thing you would want is to meddle with sleep. Children can be particularly troubling when going to bed. Your concern for lack of sleeping hours and health may prompt you to adopt strict gestures when sleep time arrives; but excessive disciplining has its side effects.
Preschoolers should be trained for proper sleep right from infancy. Rocking or too much attention at bedtime can motivate children to continue with similar gestures during later years. Exciting playtime can interfere with good sleep as it can make children more active rather than dull and relaxed.
Bathing, reading books, quiet play, etc. are some ways to make your child feel relaxed and go to sleep. Another potentially helpful way is “planned” ignorance. Here, parents provide their full attention during the relaxation period prior to bedtime. But they do not re-enter (or interfere) their children’s bedroom after they are in bed. This gives a message that once children are in bed, they should remain there.
Restricting Night Awakenings And Nightmares
Young children usually have fears related to separation or other things which can be revealed through awakenings during night (sleep) and nightmares. These can be commonly observed in children of disturbed parents or those experiencing stress in life (like children of divorcing parents).
During sudden fits, children can be gently touched or rocked for sometime till they are clam. Talking to them about the difference between reality and fantasy (when they are calm) can also soothe them. Restrict viewing fantasizing episodes on the television or those which can provoke fear, especially before going to bed.
Providing Toilet Training And Bed-Wetting Solutions
Toilet training is an important agenda with children, especially problematic preschoolers. You certainly wish your child to have clean toilet habits before starting the important phase of life called schooling. There can be many factors which can hinder toilet training like the birth of a new baby into the family, extreme fatigue or excitement, illness, anxiety and even forgetfulness during intense play activities. There has to be constant reminder and routine training about toilet habits even if your child resists the same.
Children can be fussy about removing clothes, like unbuttoning clothing, and should be given comfortable and easy to wear and remove clothes during toilet training days. Children may also find it difficult to use the toilet initially for fear of falling. Be gradual (but firm) and praise your child for every small achievement which is made. Sometimes, it helps to distract the child (by his favorite rhyme) and give an incentive to sit a bit longer during potty training. You can find your unique way of making the child co-operate.
Some children have a sound sleep and do not realize that they are bed-wetting. In such case, your pediatrician can suggest ways to eliminate bed-wetting. Do not punish your child for bed-wetting as this is not (generally) done deliberately.
Practicing More To Make Perfect
You get many occasions to explore the idea of ‘practice makes perfect’ during parenting. An apt instance is when dealing with the temper tantrums of preschoolers. Tantrums are a typical expression of children’s anger and disagreement. Problematic preschoolers can be trained to control anger and show disagreement in a more acceptable manner.
Giving in to tantrums can make things worse even though it can bring temporary reconciliation or relief. Blame the behavior rather than the child for having tantrums. Talk to your child about anger management and teach ways to deal with disagreement. It would be wise if you can prepare and instruct your child before a tantrum actually occurs (which you can usually predict by observing his behavior).
If you know he would want a toy in the market, tell him beforehand whether you would purchase that toy or not. Do not keep him guessing. If you do not intend to buy the toy, try assuring him with something else (probably more justifiable). Being a child, it can be natural to crave for objects of interest.