5 Tips for Handling the Preschool Years

Because of the age range of our five kids, I had a preschooler for 17 straight years! It seemed those years would never end, yet here I am a mother of five young adults.

Today I’m thinking of those of you who are in the preschool years…particularly the terrible twos or the trying threes! I was recently sharing some encouragement with a mom of littles. If you’re in the early years, maybe you could use this encouragement as well

Make sure you’re doing proactive self-care. What fills you up? You need to be doing it regularly so you have the emotional stamina to handle the tsunami of emotions coming from your toddler. When my kids were little and I was a stay-at-home mom, I asked my husband for the first 30 minutes after he got home. We called it “Daddy wrestle time.” He would wrestle with the kids and I would go to the bedroom, close the door, and read. It would give the introvert me–who craved some alone time– just enough energy to get through the evening.

Be the parent. Don’t allow your toddler’s “loud” emotions lead your home and family. Instead let your steady leadership stand strong and not be manipulated.

Watch for issues that exacerbate the emotions—Is he tired? Is she hungry? Does she need some emotional reassurance like a hug or time for a story?  If we look beyond the symptoms with a little compassion, sometimes we’re able to lead them to what they really need.

Make sure your toddler is on a regular routine. Bedtime between 7:30 and 8:30 pm. A nap or rest time after lunch.  Eating meals and snacks on a regular schedule. The lack of routine can cause emotional swings in a toddler that longs for leadership and boundaries.

Remember—this too shall pass. The terrible twos are challenging but they’re not forever. Find encouragement in knowing that you will get to the other side of it sooner rather than later!

What about you? Would you add any words of wisdom that would be helpful for moms of littles? 

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4 thoughts on “5 Tips for Handling the Preschool Years

  1. Perfect advice! I currently have a preschooler and a toddler. I work day shift outside the home and my husband works 2nds so 5 days a week it is Mommy time, all the time, until bedtime. We have a set routine that seems to work for us. The only other thing I would say is maybe learn to be a little flexible… This is so hard for me sometimes! Especially when I have worked a long day caring for and listening to others (I’m an RN), the last thing I want to do is ‘be late’ on our routine. But if dinner isn’t finished being eaten by 7:15 and we aren’t headed down the hallway for the start of bedtime routine by 7:30 it’s really ok. As long as they are in bed by 8pm then tomorrow will be a good day.
    Oh and maybe another piece of good advice would be stop comparing your children to everyone else’s children! Your children and how you raise them, and when they meet milestones and how quickly they pick up coloring inside the lines, learn their letters, numbers, and colors is all subject to their individual selves. And that is perfectly OK!

  2. I also am a stay at home mom of 5, and I’m going on my 10th year with littles at home. I am so burnt out, so I really appreciate your encouragement here!!!