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Surviving the Early Years: Parenting Tips for Preschool Children

Surviving the Early Years

There are challenges at every stage of child development whether it is potty training, talking back or choosing positive peers. The preschool age has its own unique set of challenges, specifically developing foundational parenting skills to sustain over time. If you are the parent of a preschooler, this information is for you. Are you wondering how to more effectively parent your strong-willed child or are seeking validation that you are succeeding as a parent then the following information may be a helpful read.

One of the best programs that addresses parenting of small children is The Incredible Years. This program was developed out of the University of Washington Parenting Clinic, where researchers have been studying parenting behavior for 25 years – specifically how behavior is learned and changed. The Incredible Years (or IY) investigates children’s learning skills, methods of positive feedback and ways parents and children work toward goals together. IY views the most crucial parenting skills as follows:

  • Feeling empathy or understanding your child’s viewpoint
  • Paying attention and being involved
  • Playing with your child and encouraging creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Listening
  • Talking

Some of these things will come naturally, while others will take considerably more effort. When giving attention, keep in mind children will seek attention, whether positive or negative. From a child’s perspective, negative attention is better than no attention and kids are persistent – if they are not receiving positive attention they will attempt to elicit negative attention. Providing positive attention is often less exhausting than negative attention and 5-10 minutes of positive attention may ward off negative behaviors.

Source: Allison Kranich, MS, LCPC, CAADC. Visit Allison’s profile.