The better you are at listening to your preschooler, the easier it will be to communicate with her. If your preschooler feels she's being heard and understood, you'll be able to steer clear of ample amounts of frustration and bad feelings.
When your child is talking, try to use body language to show that you're paying attention. Kneel down to her level, look her in the eyes and, if you really want to look engaged, tilt your head [source: PBS Parents]. If you're too busy to give your full attention, schedule a time when you can. As your preschooler speaks, ask clarifying questions to make sure you know what she's saying.
Preschoolers say a lot of incorrect or nonsense things ("But Jeff's mom lets him play with matches"). Although it may be tempting to correct her immediately, instead let her finish what she's saying, and even get her to explain further. That way, she has been allowed to express herself before being shot down with a contradiction.
Also, avoid saying 'no' immediately. Sudden rejections can be a prime cause of tantrums. Instead, take a moment to consider the question. Even if the answer is still 'no,' your preschooler will feel that her opinion is valuable. Answers aren't always necessary -- sometimes a simple "I see" will suffice.
Learn even more about parenting and children by visiting the links below.
Related How Stuff Works Articles
- Bright Futures. "Top TV Tips: Building a Balanced TV Diet." (January 28, 2010) http://www.brightfutures.org/mentalhealth/pdf/families/mc/tv_diet.pdf
- Caldwell, Bettye M. "Dealing with a Nightly Bedtime Drama." http://www.fisherprice.com/fp.aspx?st=665&e=expertadvice&catparcode=ps_slpslns&ccat=PS_GetSleep&content=36643
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- Canadian Paediatric Society. "Effective discipline for children." 2004. (February, 4, 2010) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719514/
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- Canadian Parents "Positive Discipline." (January 28, 2010)http://www.canadianparents.com/article/positive-discipline
- Cantu, Ethel. "The Preschool Years: Physical & Cognitive Development." Based on Development Across the Life Span by Robert Feldman, Prentice-Hall. (February 8, 2010) http://blue.utb.edu/ecantu/Psyc%202314/Feldman3Notes/PreschoolPhysCogFeldman3Notes.htm
- Children's Hospital, The. "Kids and Exercise." University of Colorado -- Denver.http://www.thechildrenshospital.org/wellness/info/parents/21620.aspx
- Dewar, Gwen. "Preschool social skills: A guide for the science-minded parent." (February 4, 2010) http://www.parentingscience.com/preschool-social-skills.html
- Dewar, Gwen. "The dark side of preschool: Peers, social skills, and stress."http://www.parentingscience.com/preschool-stress.html
- Direnfeld, Gary. "Parenting a pre-schooler." (January 28, 2010) http://www.canadianliving.com/family/toddlers_and_preschoolers/parenting_a_preschooler.php
- Disney Family Fun. "Brain Play." (February 3, 2010)http://familyfun.go.com/playtime/brain-play-701255/
- Entertainment Software Ratings Board.http://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.jsp
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- PBS parents. "Positive ways to talk and listen." November 5, 2006. (January 28, 2010)http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/talking_and_listening_in_positive_ways_pbs.html/context/633
- PBS parents. "Video Games: Preschoolers." (January 28, 2010)http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/videogames-preschool.html
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- Suro, Roberto. "Holding Back to Get Ahead." January 5, 1992. (February 8, 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/05/education/holding-back-to-get-ahead.html?pagewanted=1
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- Wingerden, Pamela. "'I Can Do It!" Raising a Resilient Preschooler.'" (February 4, 2010)http://www.education.com/magazine/article/raising-resilient-preschooler/
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