Parenting - Preschool

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How to Deal with Attitude problems pt 2



Our last email introduced some ideas on what we can do to deal with attitude problems our kids may have. Bottom line: it’s hard to deal with and can be extremely frustrating. It is easy to become angry and fed up with that behavior. James 1:19 says, “This you know, my beloved brethren. Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Sometimes it is easier said than done. We must keep our temper in check when dealing with our children. You cannot take back words or actions that were said out of anger. If we’re honest, we know that we could handle any parenting moment much better from a state of calm. But in the storm of our anger, we feel righteously entitled to our fury. How can this kid be so irresponsible, inconsiderate, ungrateful? Your child may be pushing your buttons, but he isn’t causing your response.

Children sometimes will act out to get a reaction from parents. Lacking enough positive interaction, a child will develop negative tactics to re-engage the adults. Being scolded, nagged, reminded, and punished is far better than being ignored. Few parents set out to deprive their children of enough parental contact, but many parents are over-scheduled, working too hard, or in distress themselves. Even though they’re doing the best they can, parents who are overwhelmed by the job may inadvertently create a situation where the kids have no choice but to misbehave to ensure a connection. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will exalt you.”

Tantrums also spring from your child’s growing desire for independence. Despite your toddler’s rapidly developing abilities, they no doubt still want to do much more than they can handle physically and mentally. This frustrating incompetence will drive your child over the edge. When their frustration reaches a certain level, it explodes as a tantrum.

Though it hardly seems like it much of the time, your toddler is actually trying to control themselves. And despite all the turbulence, your child will become increasingly self-aware throughout this year. By their third birthday, this self-awareness will probably awaken a previously unseen ability in your toddler: awareness of and identification with the feelings of others. So in the end, your child’s sometimes painful journey toward self-awareness will give birth to a degree of empathy.

Avoid any positive reinforcement of a meltdown. Don’t offer candy or a cookie if they will stop and don’t give them what they want. It’s best to give temper tantrums as little attention as possible. If you’re at home, you may try saying, “When you’re done, we’ll move on,” and let the tantrum take its course. If you’re in public, put yourself in a situation where you have time for the tantrum to play out. If you can leave a store, leave, and return after the tantrum has ceased.

Give your child the power of choice to help her determine the outcome. Try saying, “It looks like you’re having a hard time being calm, do you need to sit down for a while or do you need some help?” Or leave a situation and say: “When you’re calm you can come back.” When you provide choice you empower your child. This not only helps end the current tantrum, but it can help prevent future tantrums from occurring.

Growing up is tough, so is parenting. By working together, we can navigate the tempers and attitudes and reach a peaceful conclusion.

Partnering with you,

Pastor Deknatel

How to Deal with Your Child's Attitude Problem


Have you ever looked at your precious child and wonder what has taken over their body? Do they ever misbehave to the point that you wonder where you went wrong as a parent? Know that you are not alone. Attitude problems are a common issue when raising preschoolers. This month we hope to help you find some ways to deal with those attitudes!

Partnering with you,

Pastor Deknatel

Playing Well with Others pt 2

Dear Parents

Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so are as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Good words to live by, but sometimes this can be difficult, especially for children. Kids are naturally ego-centric and they are not born with the tools to effectively handle conflict. This is where we as their parents must help them to form good social skills and healthy play habits.

We learned in our first email that parents are one of the primary sources for the way our children respond to life. They model behaviors that they see and that are acceptable at home. Playing with your child at home lays the foundation for how they will play with other children. Do you ever get stumped for ideas on what to do at home? Here are some suggestions:

  • Encourage make believe and pretend play.
    Research has shown that pretend play is very important for a young child’s development in number of ways. First, children develop and hone a number of important social skills in the midst of zooming cars and fort building. In fact, when another person is involved, they are able to practice turn-taking, sharing responsibility (for the direction of play), and creative problem solving. In addition, children practice language skills within the context of pretend play. During play, children often experiment with language and voices (e.g., mom calling the children to dinner). Parents and teachers can facilitate this process by introducing new words into the play. Finally, pretend play inspires the imagination and thinking skills.
  • Art Projects
    Granted, this play can get messy, but encouraging your little artist will only increase creativity. Children can become more self confident and assured when they are able to express themselves and art can be a great way to do that.
  • Create something to share with someone else
    Do you have a neighbor, teacher or family member who you would like to reach out to? Have your child help to draw a picture or put together a little gift to brighten their day. This also creates a teaching moment for your child and shows them to think about the feelings of others.

Ultimately, there will be disagreements between kids. It just happens, but how we deal with it can help to ensure the best result. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”. If your child has frequent disagreements with a friend or sibling, consider practicing some of these techniques at a neutral time when the child is not upset and is not in conflict.

Teach empathy and understanding. Often, children who argue are so caught up in being right, they forget to think about how the other person may be feeling. Help your child understand that a friend may be upset because she feels jealous, sad, or lonely about something, and work on identifying times when your child has felt the same way. This can help your child step back from being “right” and remember to be caring.

Apologize and admit mistakes. It’s not easy (even for adults!), but helping your child learn to admit when he is wrong can take away the fuel that feeds many arguments. Role-playing apologies can be helpful here, but what’s more important is to practice what you preach. Let your child see moments when you admit you’re wrong and try to make amends.

Practice ways to compromise. Help your child understand what compromise is (when a common agreement or solution is reached) and why it’s a valuable tool to use in any relationship. Teach your child how to take a few moments to breathe and main her composure as best she can. Give kids the opportunity to practice compromising with you, too.

Taking the time to work with our kids to form good social skills while they are young will be so beneficial for them as they grow older. You are giving them the tools to be a good friend.

Partnering with you,

Pastor Deknatel

Playing Well with Others, Pt 1


One of the hardest things to do as parents is to see our children not behaving around other people. We all want our children to be well behaved, but how can we help our children gain good social skills?

Partnering with you,

Pastor Deknatel

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