Parenting - Preschool

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Dealing with Emotions pt 2


The early years of your child’s life present a unique opportunity to lay the foundation for healthy development. It is also a time of growth and vulnerability. Studies have shown that children whose parents talk with them about their emotions have better social skills and coping capabilities. It is so important to start this communication with our kids! By the ages of two and three children can understand what they are feeling but they still have very little control over it. Emotions at this age are very situation specific and can change quickly as your child moves on to different activities. It is also common for preschoolers to express emotions in extremes, you know the ones we are talking about!

Two of the most common emotions that kids have a hard time dealing with are anger and fear. Here are some tips when dealing with these particular preschool emotions.


  • Remain calm. No good will come of both of you being angry.
  • Do not try to reason with your child while they are in the middle of a tantrum. They are not thinking or behaving rationally.
  • Take a time out, for you and them. This gives you both a chance to calm down and you are not indulging their behavior.
  • If discipline is necessary, give consequences for the behavior, not the anger.


  • In the moment, your child is dealing with something that is very real and serious to them. Don’t smile or make light of what they are going through. Your child’s fear of the neighbor’s small poodle may seem silly to you, but it is very real to them.
  • Problem solve together. This also opens communication and allows your child to be part of the solution.
  • Provide your child with a comfort object. If they have a particular stuffed animal or blanket that brings them comfort, allow them to keep it with them.
  • Teach them not to dwell on things that cause fear. Instead, explore ways to boost confidence and help them feel brave.

What are some ways to help express feelings? Give your child permission to feel and express emotion. Let them know that these feelings are normal and everyone feels that way sometimes. They will be more likely to talk to you and share if they feel safe and secure. Use books and art to help boost communication.

Be a positive role model. Your child will model what you show them. If you are prone to losing your temper and emotional outbursts, don’t be surprised if your child shows those same behaviors. Show them healthy, productive ways of expressing emotions. There are many scriptures and stories in the Bible dealing with emotions. Teach your child that we should always pray and talk to God about what we are feeling. Incorporate daily prayer time with your child to praise and thank God for our blessings and happy moments each day and also reaching out in times of sorrow or anxiety.

Helping our children identify and name their emotions is the first step in giving them the tools they need as they grow to deal with these feelings. We can help them now at an early age to learn how to manage their emotions as they grow up.

Partnering with you,

Pastor Deknatel

Dealing with Emotions pt 1

Human beings experience a wide variety of emotions each and every day. Over time, we are able to manage and deal with those emotions. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” However, your children are not born knowing how to deal with all the feelings they have each day. It is our job to help them learn how to do that.

Partnering with you,

Pastor Deknatel

Is Parenting a Nightmare Pt 2


Psalm 4:8 says “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety”.

We all want peaceful nights and restful sleep. That is hard to do when you have a preschooler who is anti-bedtime. Earlier this month, we addressed some of the problems that your child may be having at bedtime. Today we want to share some more practical tips to help make bedtime a little easier.

On average, preschoolers need 10-12 hours of sleep a day, including naps. Sleep is important in their development and overall good health. Resisting bedtime is another way that little ones can try to have control of situations. There are many reasons they may feel the need to do this. They may be delaying fears of the dark or bad dreams. Bedtime is another separation from parents, which can cause some children anxiety. Learning the reason for the resistance can help you know how to work on the problem.

Here are some tips to help out with bedtime:

  • If your child doesn’t seem tired at bedtime, you may want to scale back on their naps or wake them up a little earlier in the morning.
  • Read bedtime stories and sing songs in their room. Let them wind down and get comfortable where they will be sleeping.
  • Give a warning. “After this story, it will be time to go to sleep.” This helps them to feel prepared.
  • Use reward charts for good sleep behavior. Motivate them to do well!

Sometimes, children will not stay in their bed/room which can make for a very long night for you and them. You cannot allow bedtime to become a power struggle. If your child continues to get up each night, here is some advice from some professionals about what to do:

  • 1st time up after goodnight – Remind your child that it is bedtime and take them back to their bed. Give one quick kiss, say goodnight and leave the room.
  • 2nd time up – Repeat. Use a more firm voice and keep it brief.
  • 3rd time up – Say nothing. Lead the child back to their room, place them in bed and leave the room. Repeat this last step as many times as it takes for them to stay in bed.

Kids will call your bluff, so stick to the routine. This may result in tears, fits and wailing, but be firm. Once they realize that getting up repeatedly isn’t getting them anywhere, they will back off and hopefully stay put.

If your child claims that they can’t go to sleep unless you are with them, you must help them feel secure in going to sleep alone. Follow your calming bedtime routine and offer them a comfort object like a stuffed animal or blanket. Maybe they need a nightlight in their room. Offer to check on them every 10 minutes as long as they stay in bed. If they are still awake when you come in, praise them for being so good and quiet and tell them you will check on them again soon to make sure they are okay. Knowing that you are nearby and coming back soon may be enough for them to get comfortable and feel safe enough to doze off.

Your child may be suffering from a different sort of sleep trouble such as having problems breathing, night terrors, sleepwalking or wetting the bed past the age of five. If any of these are the case, contact your pediatrician. This type of behavior falls in the category of sleep disorders and may require more professional assistance.

We realize how tough hard bedtimes can be on children and their parents. Hang in there and try to stay calm. Many times bedtime problems are just a phase. If you take the proper steps to create a positive atmosphere, it can go by much easier!


Pastor Deknatel

Is Parenting a A Nightmare Part 1


When you have an infant at home, sleep becomes a thing of the past. You get used to going on little to no sleep. As your child gets older, you may be hoping that you will be able to have deep, glorious sleep again. Then you realize that bedtime with a preschooler comes with its own set of obstacles.

Psalms 116:7 says, “Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.” Everyone needs good, restful sleep. How do we encourage our preschoolers to embrace bedtime and rest? Take a few minutes and check out this month’s video. We will try to help you understand why bedtime can be so hard for our little ones. Later this month, we will address some practical tips that can help make this easier.


Pastor Deknatel

Playtime is Important pt 2


Earlier this month, we discussed the importance of playtime for our children. We found out that free play is necessary for many types of our child’s development. Today we are going to explore examples of these and how you can help your child make the most of their playtime.

We now know that playtime has a direct result on social and emotional development and cognitive growth. The time before the age of three years old has been referred to as a “critical period” in brain development. Knowing that, as parents it is up to us to provide the most well-rounded opportunities for our child to grow and learn. Playtime is one of the first opportunities that a child has to discover the world. Time for free play has been reduced for some children due to more busy lifestyles, changes in family structures, and an increased number of activities. As parents, we must help to find a balance between structured activities and free play.

You may have a newborn or small infant and think that your child isn’t quite up to playing just yet. At this young age it is up to parents to initiate play and show babies how toys work. You are the one who shakes the toy that makes noise or makes faces and smiles at your baby. This is play for them. This is how they begin to understand how things happen. As a child grows, their play changes. Around the age of two and older, you may be drawn into what they want to do. The older a child is, they will direct the play.

Let’s look into the different types of development with which playtime assists. First, playtime leads to skill development. Infants learn hand-eye coordination by reaching for and playing with toys. As children grow, games and puzzles increase problem solving skills. Has your child ever been so engrossed in what they are doing that they don’t hear you call their name? That playtime is helping with concentration, focusing on a task, expanding attention span and memory. Any type of physical play will assist in maturing large-motor skills and physical development.

Play also aids in a child’s social skills. At first adults are a child’s primary playmate. As children get older, they will enjoy interacting with other children whether it is playing alongside or just observing. This is a way they learn to get along with others and that others have wants and feelings as well. This is where they will learn about sharing, kindness and being part of a group. Social play can strengthen language skills and help children understand social rules.

Playtime helps to cultivate and express a child’s imagination and creativity. When a child is pretending to be a princess or a cowboy they are working through their own ideas and emotions. Coloring, painting, any type of creating falls into this category. Creativity has been shown to help brain development.

Make sure that your children have access to “true toys” like blocks or dolls. Another example could be dress up clothes, play kitchen/household items, and action figures. These toys aren’t electronic and stimulate creativity rather than those that require a more passive participation. Don’t forget to include books at all ages. Just because a child cannot read yet doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t instill a love of books and the pictures/stories inside of them.

Who knew that playtime was so important? Let’s not be in such a hurry for our children to grow up. Allow them to play and make an investment in the person they will become!


Pastor Deknatel

Playtime is Important pt. 1


“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw

Most of us have probably heard that quote before. As adults, we can forget how important playtime is to kids. We live in a time of rushing and busyness. Rushing to get from place to place and rushing our kids to grow up. Sometimes we forget to let our child just be a kid.

However, playtime is crucial in the development of toddlers and preschoolers. A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that unstructured, free playtime is not only healthy, but essential for children in reaching important social, emotional and cognitive development milestones.

Take a few minutes and check out this month’s parenting class on playtime. We will explore why play is so important for our kids. Later this month, we will dig deeper and explore creative ideas for kids and suggestions for parents.


Pastor Deknatel

Don’t make me count to three! Part two.


One of the hardest parts of being a parent is having to discipline your child. No child is perfect and misbehavior is inevitable, but it is so frustrating!

Try to look at this responsibility in a new way. Punishments are unavoidable, but view it as an opportunity to teach your child how to behave. Also, try to understand why your child is behaving that way in the first place. When a young child misbehaves, they are telling you in the only way they know how that they are feeling discouraged, frustrated or angry. Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Are they intentionally trying to act up or are they being curious? Think of times that your child has misbehaved and look at what else is going on at the time. Are you busy on the phone or making dinner? Is your focus on a sibling or another adult? How long has it been since they had your focus? Sometimes when you stop and look at the big picture, it is easier to understand your child. Perhaps a slight change on your part can improve your child’s focus as well!

Be consistent

Consistency truly is key when it comes to discipline and it is crucial for preschoolers. Little ones may need to hear something thirty times (sometimes more) before it starts to sink in! As hard as it is, you have to be firm on what you expect from your child. Decide what behavior you will allow (or not allow) and stick with it. Don’t send mixed signals! Don’t fail to set limits because you don’t like to see your child frustrated. Giving in to demands just encourages them to pitch a fit the next time they don’t get their way. There has to be a balance. We all need limits. The younger a child is, the more defined those limits should be. You are the one who must teach them what is acceptable and what is not. The world would be a very scary place if there were no limits.


Preschoolers are very curious by nature. We want our children to explore and discover the world, but they have to be safe. They also have a fairly short attention span. Make sure you take away temptations to misbehave. Remove them from the area. Redirect them to a new activity and/or location. Offer them something to do that will not result in bad behavior.

Be on the same page

Make sure that everyone who is responsible for your child is on the same page as far as behavior and what is okay. If there are different rules at home than there are at grandma’s house, it will be very easy for misbehaving to occur. Be a model for your child’s behavior. Show your kids what you want them to do. If they are playing too rough, show them how to play nice. Make it very clear what you expect from them. This way there is no question whether or not they understand. You must be involved in raising your child. They aren’t just going to automatically know how to behave.


There of course will be times that consequences are necessary. This is where parents use different techniques like warnings, time outs, or withholding privileges or treats. Different consequences will work differently on each child. You may have to discover what is effective for your child. Whatever you do, don’t discipline your child out of anger. Count to ten and cool off before you act. An important tip, praise good behavior. Acting out is a sure-fire way to get attention. Praising them when they are doing well lets your child know that they don’t just get attention by misbehaving. Show them that good behavior will also get them the attention that they crave.

Discipline is not about what we are doing to our kids, but rather what we are doing for them. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. Give them the training they need. Make it easy for your child to do the right thing!


Pastor Deknatel