Parents ask me, “How am I supposed to get it all done when my preschooler demands so much of my time?”

I can’t change your to-do list, but I can bust four parenting myths that might be stealing some of your energy.

Myth #1: You Must Immediately Explain All Answers in Great Detail

You don’t have to answer every question your child asks in great detail, all day long! Shocking, I know, but you don’t.

Try addressing questions age appropriately instead. You’d be amazed at how much energy you save.

Most parents of preschoolers think the way to increase their child’s intellect and language skills is by being verbose.

Consider the facts. A child’s brain is not like an adult’s brain, yet. It’s still developing. That means learning is happening through play, and the focus is on the emotional side of the brain. So age appropriate sound bytes are perfect for their level of understanding. You’ll know when your child is ready to absorb, and retain big concepts; you’ll see it in the lessons at school.

Myth #2: Intense Words and Punishment Stop the Complaining

Most parents think the best way to shut down complaining is to use stern reactions and punishment, but that’s exhausting!

Consider humor. Hubby had a unique way of busting our kids when they complained, and it worked every time! He’d say, “You know, when I was a boy, I had to walk 75 miles in the snow to get to school!” The kids would laugh or moan;they got it—no complaining.

Try silence. I’m not suggesting you ignore your child when they’re complaining. I’m suggesting you purposefully say nothing. Silence is one of the most powerful tools a parent has! Make sure to explain why you’ll be silent from now on when they complain. And ask them to think about what they’ve said as they wait for you to talk.

Myth #3: Oh, She Knows I Love Her

Think back to when you were little. Were there times when you made a mistake and wondered if your parent still loved you?

Your child knows you love her, but she needs to be told, out loud, as often as possible, especially after misbehaving.Saying I love you creates connections and connecting fills you with energy!

Myth #4: Following a Routine is Restricting to Both My Child and Me

Some parents fear that a routine forces a child to adopt an adult’s way of doing things, thereby forcing them into a rhythm that isn’t their own. Some parents also feel like a routine restricts their freedom.

The truth is your freedom to come and go as you please was altered the day you gave birth. Another truth is a routine sends physical clues that your child count son when they feel out of control due to development.

Two year olds are a good example of this. 2’s usually insist they use the same cup and plate each day, or they cry. When 2’s see their ‘special’ plate they realize it must be time to eat. Not having to deal with a two yr. old tantrum will absolutely save you energy.

These few tips won’t shorten your to-do list, but they will free up some physical and emotional energy that you though was lost forever.

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sharon Silver is a parenting educator and the founder of Proactive Parenting. She’s also the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be.