The Science of Parenting

Preschoolers | S.5 Ep.4

April 29, 2021 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Season 5 Episode 4
The Science of Parenting
Preschoolers | S.5 Ep.4
Show Notes Transcript

Embrace your preschooler’s growing confidence by giving them some responsibilities—like putting away toys and pulling on their own socks.

Send us an email: parenting@iastate.edu.
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Mackenzie Johnson:

Welcome to The Science of Parenting podcast where we connect you with research based information that fits your family. We're going to talk about the realities of being a parent and how research can help guide our parenting decisions. I'm Mackenzie Johnson, parent of two littles with their own quirks, and I'm a parenting educator.

Lori Korthals:

And I'm Lori Korthals, parents of three in three different life stages. One is launched, one is in college, and one is in high school. And I am also a parenting educator. And today we are going to be talking about the research and reality around preschoolers.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And I live with one. I got things to say, guys. And stories to tell. Yes, so we are going to be looking at, you know, this season, we're really digging into this idea of the developmental milestones, and what's it like to parent kids of different ages. And so again, those milestones are things that are typically expected of kids by a certain age, and we're going to be talking about them in general, but do know that. I should say know and remember that each kid develops at their own pace. I can say, even in my house, I had one that was pretty early, and one that was a little later. So every kid kind of develops at their own pace, whether early, right on time, or a little later, and that you're the expert on your kids. And so our role is just to provide you with some research based information about your kids' development. You get to decide what's best for them and your family.

Lori Korthals:

You do and also recognize that there are many factors that affect the rate of development in children. Of course, there's temperament which you can listen to in season three, the episodes where we shared about how temperament affects our parenting, well, it also affects children's development. Other things that impact development could include the environment that children are living in, the genetics, and so much more. So if you do have concerns about your child's development, we recommend that you talk to your family healthcare provider, or your local Area Education Agency.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, because we're giving the general, right, but if you've got questions, there's great resources. Exactly, exactly.

Lori Korthals:

So in the meantime, let's talk about the definition of preschoolers. According to CDC, who says that this is the ages between three and five.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. Which sounds right, like pretty straightforward. We talked about in our previous episodes, there was some debate around toddlerhood versus infanthood. That's still kind of the case. Right? Some people say it's about the age of three to five and others say it's about more about like the stage of well, it's really once a child starts preschool.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly, exactly. And as we think about the ages of preschool, you know, you said you live with a child who's this age. So what do you think is great and tough about this stage?

Mackenzie Johnson:

There's a lot of both. Okay, one thing that I think is great I talked about in the episode on infants, Oh, we love our babies, but they like need a lot from us. I am really enjoying the independence part of having a preschooler, right? They can get themselves dressed in the morning most of the time and you're hungry, you can grab a snack kind of stuff. And so I'm really enjoying a little more of that. I think that's great. And also, I just feel like they get funny in preschool. Like they understand things a little more. So they've got a good sense of humor. And so I do, I think that's great about preschool. What do you think's great about preschoolers?

Lori Korthals:

So I taught preschoolers and I have to say that before I had children, I would tell you that this is my favorite thing ever. Preschoolers are my favorite thing. And, you know, one of those things that you said was, you know, their humor, they're learning more. But some of the best stories that I have about my children are from their preschool age, and that might be phrases that they've said. So one phrase that my older daughter said was, we want to go to the swimming cool, right, Mommy? Isn't she right? It's where you get cool.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, cool down.

Lori Korthals:

Great. Exactly. And then, you know, another phrase she would say is the phrase, I need my glip gloss. Okay, she's kind of right. You know, it makes us glittering and glitzy. It's our glip gloss. And then the last one was, we always ate girl cheese for grilled cheese. You know, so those things they're learning and they're like deadpan serious.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes.

Lori Korthals:

We need to have some girl cheese, mommy. Anyway, that's one of my favorite things about this age is just that they're learning and what they're learning comes out in so many different ways that yes, lots of great stories.

Mackenzie Johnson:

There is. Also, there are some tough things too, right? You know, just like every stage, it's got some things that are great and some things that are challenging. Yes, I think for me, one of the tougher things is there's so much energy and interest and curiosity for my daughter at this age, about what other people are doing, and how society and norms and roles. And she talks so much about traditions. She must have picked up that word at preschool, but this is our tradition in our family. This is our tradition. Which maybe is a little bit of her less adaptable temperament if I'm honest. But I think some of that is like, I feel like there's so much to teach around the context of things. Okay, well, the reason that so and so is doing this is because, right? When you're doing this with your friends, and so I do, I just feel like there's a lot of, which is great, but like, gotta be on my game.

Lori Korthals:

It's a different kind of being on your game with preschoolers, absolutely 100%. So well, let's look at some of those different changes and challenges and great things that happen during this kind of age area. And we're going to speak about it in terms of categories or domains. And, again, as you think about these, you know, there are different parts of development across the board in general.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And so we're kind of leaning on a textbook by Patterson for our episode today that gave us some great overarching ideas about those developmental domains or categories. But if you'd like more specific information on the really nitty gritty, specific tasks that preschoolers work on, the Center for Disease Control has a great app that I could go on and on about, but it's called the Milestone Tracker by the CDC. It's research based, and it's great. You can check little boxes of like, yes, my child does this, does this, but it helps you track their development, as well as keep an eye out for red flags if you do have concerns. But for today, speaking in general terms, let's open up talking about this physical domain or category. With our preschoolers, we know that they're working on a lot more of their fine motor and gross motor, right? They've mastered most of the walking and that kind of stuff for a typically developing child. But more of the nitty gritty of, you know, using scissors and picking up chalk or crayons to write, you know, a lot of those fine motor things, but also, mastering more of the gross motor. It's been a big deal in our house, my daughter learning to like gallop versus skipping, right? The difference between those and mastering them, and doing jumping jacks, like more specific gross motor and fine motor stuff. So that and then we also see in preschool, that's where we really start to figure out more of which, you know, we say handedness, but like you have a lefty or right handed child. And so that also tends to appear in preschool because they've been mastering that fine motor.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely. They've been starting to utilize utensils as toddlers. And then as preschoolers, those utensils turn into crayons and pencils and scissors. And I literally remember thinking, finally in preschool, okay, like my daughter actually is left handed. You know, she wasn't just playing around with the spoon and the fork in her left hand. She's learning to write left handed. Okay, yeah. I need to think about things differently because I'm right handed. So yeah, that is definitely one of those things I remember about preschool. Okay, so how about cognitive or thinking, that part of our brain or the category that will specifically think about envisioning the brain, neurons and pathways in the head, you know, coming together or whatever, right, word picture? What are the things that are happening on those pathways with children? So in the cognitive development or the thinking or intellectual development, we talk about pretend play, and this idea of exploring role playing and kind of playing out, how does this happen? How does this happen? You might hear children say, okay, you say, or you might hear them verbally launching through the script during their pretend play. They're putting things in sequence and in order. And another thing to think about during this stage is that they're still very egocentric. Or they're really only capable of thinking about themselves. Yes, they're playing more with their friends and they can think about their friends. But those internal things that drive them are very centered on themselves. They're not necessarily able to take the perspective of their friend, even though they're playing right next to their friend. And so, as we think of that, we'll learn to think of others, but not just yet.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes. And actually, there's two kind of E words that come to mind as I think about the cognitive development of a preschooler, and it's egocentric and empathy. So egocentric being where the kind of natural you're at, but empathy being the skill that we're helping them develop. You know, we do this by modeling like, oh, how might you feel if someone hit you, or if someone took this away. We help them practice and learn about that empathy, but the reality is, their brain is still not ready to do that very abstract thing of like, I understand what this other person might be experiencing. That's like a very hard thing. And even when they can practice empathy, you know, sometimes you're like, Oh, good job, that was so sweet. But it's not happening all the time. Right? They're still working on it.

Lori Korthals:

They are so what about maybe we can quickly run through a couple of strategies for how we can help children learn about their empathy or their egocentrism. So when I think of egocentrism, I think of sharing. So as we talked a lot about toddlers, you know, this idea of sharing, and it's still there as preschoolers. When we're asking them to share, we are still asking them to give away something that is very important to them, even though to us as the adults, it may seem like something trivial. They're still at preschool age not able to share regularly. They might share one day, but not the next. What do you do at home with your preschooler and sharing?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Well, I can say one, even when someone has a background in child development, realizing that kids aren't really mastering and getting a lot better at that ability to share until like, older four, you know, so really, at the end of this stage is when they really can get pretty good at it consistently. But realizing that was like, Okay, I need to figure out what else we're gonna do. So one thing we do is, you know, my daughter, there's something she just doesn't want to share, right? She has a little stuffed animal that's her favorite stuffed animal. And I can say that I have stuff that I'm not gonna, like, I don't want to share. It's mine and I'm an adult.

Lori Korthals:

This is my cheesecake, you may not have it.

Mackenzie Johnson:

But so I do, especially if my daughter would have friends coming over, or I can anticipate a situation where she might be expected to share, I sometimes, you know, like, are there some things that are special? You know, like, if she just had a birthday and a brand new toy she's really excited about? Yeah, I'm like, is there something you're not ready to share? And if so, let's go ahead and let's put that away. Let's put it in your room, let's set that aside so that it doesn't cause conflict. So that's one thing that we can do. Another one is thinking about opportunities for maybe turn taking instead of sharing. Thinking about it as we both need to use this, or I need to give it away. And instead, I can see that you're really invested in this block tower that you're making and there's not a lot of blocks. What if, how much time do you need to finish working on this, you know, and then finding a way to engage her younger sibling or friend. And we set a timer for that amount of time. And so it is sharing, right? We're building those skills, but not in the way of like, you need to share that at the same time with another child.

Lori Korthals:

I love that and you really talk about essentially, how can we solve this problem? How can we solve this issue? And it is an issue or it is a problem to the preschooler because they're not able to take on that other person's role. And so that other E word, egocentric, you know, we have to teach them and model how to feel what someone else feels. They aren't just naturally going to feel it. So if we see that maybe our friend hit another friend, we might say something like, Oh, do you see that Jimmy is crying? Oh, what do you think we could do to help Jimmy feel better? And maybe the children can come up with more ideas on how to help Jimmy feel better, but what the children learned was, Oh, Jimmy's crying. Gosh, I cry, too. This is what makes me feel better. And we've seen children share their own stuffed animal with Jimmy because it made me feel better. But Jimmy is crying. And this is what I do when I cry so just that idea of modeling and teaching and helping children give them the words. Well, how can I make them feel better? Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, I think that hints right into another thing. So we talk about sharing a lot in preschool. Right? There's a lot of social development happening, which we'll get to. But also this idea of when there's conflict, which happens when you're playing with a friend or sibling, having kids say, Sorry, right. But I love the idea of how can we make it better. Because as adults, we're able to put ourselves in somebody else's shoes. Like, I did this, I stepped on your toes, I'm sorry, that must have hurt. But a preschooler is thinking like, well, I'm just playing, I wasn't trying to hurt them. It's that idea of an apology. That's one way to help make things better. But yeah, there's lots of other ways too.

Lori Korthals:

There definitely are. And again, remembering that their brains are making connections. Their brains are learning how to solve problems. And as adults, we have all of this history to fall back on. But those little brains, they actually really don't have all that history.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yeah, they don't have as much experience as we do with those kinds of things. So that brings us to our next domain, which is language. And so right, we know that language explosion, we talked about that happens in toddlerhood, but we see that preschoolers have a much wider vocabulary, right? They're learning and understanding more about the grammar and the structure of language that they speak. I think of hold versus held. I holded this. I held this. And so they're learning a lot more about that. They're kind of exploring with that language a little bit. And we know that our preschoolers, you know, we talked about talk to your babies, help your toddlers find words? Well, same thing with preschoolers. Have conversations with them, explain, use interesting words, and explain them, right? Like, are you familiar with this word? Okay, if not, here's an explanation for it. Our kids really benefit and it helps them get ready to be school aged kids and to read since they'll be learning to read. It's one of the other things that I love about a preschooler, when it comes to language, is they can now use their words to persuade people.

Lori Korthals:

Oh, yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I hear so much of the phrase all the time in our house is like, I have an idea. I have an idea? Why don't we? And then after that, Mom, you could. Mom, you can have coffee, and I'll do this other thing. And it's like, I see you here. I see you trying to convince me. But it's a new ability that they have. I can explain what I want to you. And I can maybe even encourage you to go along with it.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly, exactly. And then the other thing about this age is now that they have all these new words, they like to test him out. And I love the way that Barb Dunn Swanson was sharing with us the idea of how do they know which words are appropriate and which words aren't. Because they honestly just hear us using all these words. So, you know, maybe we might accidentally slip in a word or two that is more appropriate for adults than children. I can think of a few words that I might use, you know, to express myself when I drop something on my toe. And then we don't really express maybe at that time to our child, how these words have impact. And children are just testing words at this age. And I always think about questions I would get as a preschool teacher, you know, the idea of when they use these words that are maybe not as appropriate for young children, what should I do? What should I say? And one strategy that we can use is to think about the reactions we give to all words. So we have physical, facial, body reactions to all words, right? Sometimes we laugh at their words, sometimes we frown at their words. And so these new words that they're testing, maybe these four letter words that they're testing as preschoolers, we actually think about our reactions. And so I know that sometimes I maybe snickered or giggled when I heard these words unexpectedly. And that was a reaction I had and so children watch us all the time for our reactions to their behaviors, to their movements, to their words, and and so I think one strategy to use when we have these language surprises, is the idea of no reaction. So as hard as it might be to stifle that snicker or to, you know, crinkle those eyebrows, how can we in this preschool age, really give zero reaction to those surprising words that come out so very unexpectedly? And often in the right context.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Like, okay, that is how you would grammatically and structurally use that. I don't know that I want you to.

Lori Korthals:

Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So the language, but then in the emotional, right, you want to walk us through a little bit of that?

Lori Korthals:

Yeah, absolutely. So this emotional category then talks about the idea of developing self concept or having more fear at this age. I know that my middle daughter was very afraid of clowns and puppets at this age. Even though when we think about the long running television show that had puppets, live puppets, on that's very much for preschoolers. But in person, those puppets are a very different thing. They definitely have some self regulation and impulse control abilities, but it is not consistent. It is more consistent than with toddlers, but it is not consistent. And for us to expect 100% control is really pretty unrealistic. You know, we're talking maybe 60/40, depending on their temperament, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

And the day.

Lori Korthals:

And the day. Did they get enough sleep? Or are they hungry? Right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. And okay, so one of the things I love about emotional development that fascinates me both as a parent and as someone interested in child development, this idea that preschoolers aren't really yet able to differentiate between fantasy and reality. And so that's why sometimes movies can feel scary, right? Movies or television shows can be scary to kids. Or even in our house, we recently talked about mermaids, and it's like, mermaids are a fun idea but mermaids are pretend. There's a lot of conversation in the preschool age. And actually, it's one of the reasons why kids can have a lot of fear, right? We talked about kids having more fears, preschoolers, and it's related to, I don't know if this idea of a monster, is that real? Or is that pretend? Exactly. Maybe there's animals that seem scary. Are those real? Are those pretend? And so navigating all of that, we do a lot of explaining to our kids. Real or fake, Mom? I hear a lot of that like, Okay, this idea, real or fake?

Lori Korthals:

Yes. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

So and then the last area is social development. So that's the last domain we're looking at. And we know tons of this with preschoolers. When they were toddlers, they maybe played side by side with another child. In preschool, we can really see them work cooperatively, right? There might be several kids playing a game of house or, you know, playing something outside. And yeah, like we talked about, lots of role taking, right? They're practicing. What does it look like around my house, lots of house roles. That's why the kitchen set and all that stuff are such classic toys. We also see that they're learning and exploring gender roles and norms. Totally typical and awesome for kids to be exploring that. And that can also, as they think about these gender norms, they can tend to prefer similar gendered peers and friends. And so yeah, there's a lot of great development. Kids are exploring the roles in the world and how society works. And it's great to see them kind of start, right, not always getting it, but they actually start to cooperate and play with others. It's just such a good point. And that's totally something, you

Lori Korthals:

Exactly. And one other thing in this whole social arena comes in this idea of teasing. And so preschoolers are actually not very good at differentiating because of what you also talked about, or what we also talked about in the fantasy, what's real and what's not real, that whole idea of teasing. So in the social realm of playing with children w o are older or even adults, th y don't actually understand when someone says, I'm gonna ake your teddy bear and throw t away. To the preschooler, th t's super real. And, you know, t this age, they can, depending n their temperament, be ome very emotional about that social teasing. know, I have a preschooler, that's something we're navigating with family and friends. And it is a way some people try to show affection and get along and play with a kid. And yeah, sometimes, you know, teaching my daughter the words of it's okay to say, I don't like that. I don't like when you tease me about that. But it is, it's a real reaction. Because why would you do that? Why would you say that?

Mackenzie Johnson:

So in your own experience, you know, I know you have experience as a preschool teacher, and raising preschoolers, you know, having had preschoolers yourself, what stands out to you about the stage?

Lori Korthals:

I loved teaching preschool. I love the preschool brain. Of course, you know, I was gonna say that I love teaching preschoolers about their temperament and how to work with things that they got genetically. And the thing I had to always remind myself about preschoolers was this, their brains are four years old, 48 months, four years, which means that they actually have 21 more years that those brain neurons are going to connect and make pathways and roadways in their heads, which helps me oftentimes to lower that expectation bar. And remember that, you know, at some points in time, just because a child had all this language, did not mean that their control or self-control was ever going to be 100% or 80%, or 70%. It was really dependent on all these other factors. Just because their age numbers said three, or four, or five, didn't mean that their brain was three, or four or five, or their language was three, or four or five. So that is really my favorite thing that stands out to me about preschoolers is, they still have so much learning and growing to do.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Oh, yeah. And mine is actually pretty similar. So we talked in the first episode of the season about having an expectation gap, when we think our kids are able to do things that they're not yet. And so that's frustrating for us, because like, come on, you should be able to do this. And it's frustrating for them, because they're like, I'm trying. Not consistently yet.

Lori Korthals:

My fingers won't do this!

Mackenzie Johnson:

And like, I know I shouldn't hit but I don't have great impulse control yet. Like Yes, yes. And so you're getting that they have more time to develop, maybe we need to check our expectation gap. But also, the thing that goes along with that for me is, for a lot of their stuff, they're so much better at things than toddlers are.

Lori Korthals:

Oh, yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I have to remind myself like, just because you can do that sometimes doesn't mean I can always expect to do that. And I'm actually pretty sure I stole that from you. I'm pretty sure that is something you said to me in passing. And, like, okay, yeah, sometimes you can get yourself dressed in the morning with no hassle. Not always. Yes. And it's not because you're being difficult to me right now. Right? Seems to me that they are having trouble getting dressed. It's like, sometimes, but not always. Yeah, in this preschool age is very much that way. There's so much you can do sometimes. And other times, you're gonna need some help.

Lori Korthals:

Yeah, I definitely needed help this morning. Yes, yeah. Alright, so this is The Science of Parenting podcast, right?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Mm hmm. So we're gonna look at the parenting component of this, right? It's great to hear about and understand where kids are at developmentally. But ultimately, we want some practical stuff. We're like, okay, but I live with a preschooler like I'm raising one. What am I gonna do about that? So we got to partner with Iowa State professor, Dr. Diana Lange, who gave us access to her online open access textbook called Parenting in Diverse Contexts. And she has these really great one liners. And so her one liner for parenting a preschooler is to utilize creative and individualized strategies to guide children's desirable behavior patterns to become typical interactions. Okay, it's like a little long with a little bit of jargon. But to use individualized to our kids and to be creative in how we do that, right? We're going to be flexible and what works for our child. Yes. And so we're going to be creative and individualized in our strategies in order to help them have, I mean, we say desired behavior, but really, yes. I mean, a lot of times people call it good and bad, but we know that what each parent thinks is good or bad varies. So what behavior you specifically desire for your kids. In preschool they're learning so much about those norms and rules, we're gonna use those strategies to help turn that good or desired behavior into what normally happens for them. That's what we're really working on. We want those desired behaviors to become those typical interactions they have, with friends, with us, with siblings, with people in the world.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. Because as they grow, they're not going to be with us 100% of the time so we want those behaviors to happen when we're not there to. So I kind of think of this as if I think about the toddler types of parenting behaviors I had, then as a preschool parent, my goal honestly, my task or my role during this time is to create some rules that effectively guide them, but also give them some space and opportunity to learn their own rules or like love and limits, right? So they get to practice their limits. They get to practice making their own rules within my limits, essentially. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

It does go back to Ellen Galinsky's Stage of Parenting, right? Yes. And we talked about that in the first episode this season of authority, that both toddlers and preschoolers, our job as parents is authority. But I think it's different to parent a toddler than a preschooler, but both related to authority. Like how would you differentiate them for people.

Lori Korthals:

I think with my toddlers, my authority was based on that safety area, like keeping them safe. And then as they grew into preschoolers, my authority was really more in that area of, I'm going to set the end boundary, and be okay with your choices in between because I really want you to practice making choices. And I really want you to have a safe space to practice your limits. And so, you know, I might make sure that I have you in a fenced in area on the playground, but I'm going to let you climb up the steps to the slide without me standing right next to you. Because I want you to practice those skills and be able to climb up and down the steps of the slide or the play set with ease, and those are things that you practice in preschool. So I think that's that different authority, where I might set the end boundary, and know that you have all of these opportunities in between that space to find success.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Totally. And I think of with my toddler, I have to proactively, you know, I know toddlers benefit from choices and preschoolers, too, but I really proactively do that with my toddler like, okay, we're having a hard moment. Do you want to put your shoes on? Or do you want me to help you? Right? And I have to really, because I'm used to them being a baby and me just doing all of it for you. So in toddlerhood, I think a lot more proactively about those choices. And then yeah, versus in preschool, I think a lot more about the guidance of guiding their behavior and like you said, the wider boundary that you choose within. So the choices do look a little different.

Lori Korthals:

They do, they do. Okay, so should we share some quick strategies?

Mackenzie Johnson:

Yes, we've got some great strategies from the Center for Disease Control, the CDC has great positive parenting tips, and we're not going to cover all of them from there. We're gonna choose a few that we think are really great just to share with you. Got to get practical here, right, for your reality, some strategies for you. Yes. So my favorite one, one of my favorite ones, I can never pick just one of my favorite ones, is actually about how we guide and discipline our kids. We know that discipline is about teaching. And so we want to be clear and consistent in our expectations and our guidance with our preschoolers. We want to explain and show the behavior that we expect from them. And so when we do need to tell them no for something, right, we do need to set that limit, set that boundary, keep them safe, or whatever the reason might be, we want to follow up with what we expect and what we do want them to do instead. Absolutely.

Lori Korthals:

Okay, so one of my favorite is letting them do simple chores, even if it's not the perfect way that we like it. Okay, so we have to step back as a parent and say, okay, they can match the socks, and even if they don't fold or ball them or whatever, your way of matching slacks happens, we're gonna be okay with that because they're working on matching socks. So they can help us with simple chores and we have to recognize that it might not be perfect. And we can go back and do it later as long as they don't see us, but allowing them the opportunity to practice those things.

Mackenzie Johnson:

And then my other two favorites that I really liked. One is a lot of problem solving with preschoolers, right? Yes. Especially when they're upset, like helping them navigate, like you might be feeling. And sometimes it's asking like, are you feeling frustrated? Or disappointed? Are you jealous, right? Some of those more complicated feelings that preschoolers can have, but that we're helping them problem solve and come up with ideas to do that. And then also, another really simple one, which again, we did with toddlers, is giving them a limited number of choices, right? Like maybe two to three, deciding what to wear, deciding when to play, what to play with, what to eat for snack, right? There's two choices, you can choose one of these. And so we're still offering lots of those choices because they're going to continue on this path as they gain more independence from us into school and stuff. I want them to be able to practice making those choices themselves.

Lori Korthals:

Absolutely, absolutely. And one resource that we want to share with you and the other strategie , we'll put those on our blog ite. We'll put these reso rces on our blog site as well But we love that we have been a le to share the Just in Time arenting newsletters with you. emember, they're free, they ome straight to your inbox there's research on child devel pment and practical strat gies for you to use. They' e super pretty, and they just re right there at your finge tips. You can get those at Just n Time Parenting, so it's jitp. nfo. And they come each month And we also wanted to let you k ow about an Iowa State resou ce called Ages and Stages. And t ese publications are from Iowa tate Extension. And we menti ned these on the first episo e, but we want to really put t ese in our blog for this parti ular week. They're wonde ful, concise, written by one o our fabulous colleagues, and t ey look at some of the miles ones of your children. And so ta e an opportunity to go downloa those. They're great because you can actually hand them out to others as gifts. Maybe hey're gifts for your own fa ily as they learn about the a es and stages of your child. ut we just want to make sure th t we always share resourc s available to you.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely, yeah. And you can find all of those on our website. If you forgot scienceofparenting.org. Along that right hand column, you can click right into preschoolers and get the Ages and Stages, information from Just in Time Parenting and lots of other great stuff. So I think this brings us to our Stop. Breathe. Talk. moment with our producer. This is a portion of our podcast that's based on our flagship parenting strategy of stop, taking a breath before we react. And instead, we respond and speak with intention in our parenting.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Hello.

Lori Korthals:

Hi Kenz.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Alright, so I am here to ask a question that was asked in a workshop that we recently had. So Lori has actually already answered this question. And she had a really fabulous answer for it. So I actually wanted to ask that question and have her share her answer to it. So as a workshop participant, she asked the question that she has a preschooler, I think she said three or four. Every time that they go to the store, her preschooler wants everything and anything, right? She wants this. She wants that and anything that she can't have she throws a fit about. And I think if any of us have ever been in a store with a child, we've seen this happen, right? So do you have any advice on what a parent can do in that situation when my kid just wants everything and I can't give them everything? And they're throwing a fit? Because they can't do everything?

Lori Korthals:

And they have an intense temperament, right? So we've talked several different times given a couple different strategies. And these strategies are based on that idea of practice. And so the answer that I gave was based on going to a store. So we're going to call this store Tangos, right? And so I said, well, you have the great brain availability of this top of this three year old, okay, so better than a toddler in terms of more connections in the brain, right? But still that not consistent emotional control. So you can say to your child, we're going to go to Tangos and at Tangos, we're going to buy some towels, let's say towels. So we're going to Tangos to buy towels, and your preschooler, they have enough brain connections to be like, Oh, I remember Tangos. It's got that big T. Yeah, T, tuh, tuh, tuh. You can do all kinds of right with that. So practicing. Okay, I actually know that I don't have to go to Tangos to get towels right this very minute. So we're gonna practice just in case I actually have to leave Tangos without the towels. And so you can practice with the child. We're going to go to Tangos to get towels remember, what are we going to get there? We're going to get towels. Yes, that's right. Right. So only towels. Yes, only towels. Okay, and you just had this conversation the whole way there. You get to the store and the child sees toys, right? And so the child says, I want these toys. Oh no. Remember, we are going to Tangos to get towels, not toys. I love that. And you can just have this dialogue over and over. And essentially depending our child's temperament, right? If they are able to stick to the towels at Tangos, you had practice and you got to leave with towels and you needed them, but maybe not just this moment, just in case, right? Or you can say and we've talked about this in one of our season one episodes, you can begin to say, mmm, I can tell that you really want these toys. But remember, we were just coming to get towels. Now you can choose to walk on your feet, instead of throwing a tantrum on the floor. Walk on your feet so we can go get towels or we have to leave without towels. Okay, we're not even talking about the toys. We're going to talk about getting up on our own two feet, walking to get the towels and exiting the store with the towels. Or not even maybe getting to walk on our own two feet because mom might have to pick you up and carry you back to the car with no towels, let alone no toys. But the idea behind that is practice. Practice when you know you don't need the necessity, practice the conversation. Mackenzie talks about having the housekeeping area for her preschooler to play with. Practice it at home in your house area. Now we're going to pretend that we go to Tangos to go get towels, what happens if you see a toy? What do you say? Just towels, Mommy, just towels. And so that's, you know, just that idea that you as a parent have permission to practice. You don't have to get it right the first time, we don't expect our children to get it right the first time. So you as a parent have the right to practice.

Mackenzie DeJong:

And you're kind of practicing it together. It's practice for your kid, but also for you to like, know how to navigate those situations, too.

Lori Korthals:

Exactly.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Another one that we do at our house to kind of, I try to get my preschooler and I on the same team regarding where we're going. And so we talked a little bit about how advertisements on like a video or on something. They're trying to give us the gimmies, right, they want us to buy stuff, they want us, they want us to spend our money. And so we talked about that in the store that sometimes they'll set something up to try to give us the gimmies. So we get on the same team of playing this little game of, you know, before we go into the store, like oh, you know, I know sometimes I see my favorite section in the store. And they have it set up to try to give me those gimmies to get me to buy stuff so then if we get to that moment in the store, if there's a toy display or a certain food, if we're in the grocery store or something. It's like, oh, tiptoe. Be careful for those gimmies. They'll try to get you. But it gets us kind of on the same team and there are times it doesn't work, right? There are times when it's like Mom, Mom, you know, please, or if dad's with us, or dad's there. And it's like, I could just, it's like, Oh, you know what we came to the store to get today? Towels. You know, we aren't here to buy snacks today. Be careful. Like I think those gummies might be getting you and then sometimes it's almost a little defensive, you know of like they gotta show like, they're not. The gimmies are not getting me. I was just talking about it. I did it. I'm proud of myself.

Lori Korthals:

And that's great. I love it.

Mackenzie DeJong:

Yeah, and there are always lots of gimmies for some reason, at the best stores, they put the best clothes, right close to the register. And there's always candy in the register.

Mackenzie Johnson:

I think the other thing that helps us is, when if my daughter would choose to come to the store with me, it also helps us practice a little bit of money sense of like, but having a consistent expectation of, if you'd like to help me buy some groceries or like to help me choose one thing, but less than this, right? And then specialize to your family, right? Everybody's resources look a little different. But trying to have that consistent, because one time I can expect my mom to say, sure we're having a fun day. I'll buy that. And the next time I'm with dad and dad's like, No, we're not. And then the next time mom says, why would you ask? You know, and so a little bit of consistency on like, if you're coming to the store, you can expect to either not buy anything, right? I'm going to be really clear with you about whether or not you can expect to get something extra.

Lori Korthals:

Yes. Awesome.

Mackenzie DeJong:

All right, thank you for sharing.

Lori Korthals:

Great question. Yes.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Love that question. And from a real parent, that's what I was gonna say.

Mackenzie DeJong:

And if anyone out there listening has questions, be sure to send them in to us because I might use it on the podcast to stump my hosts and who doesn't want to stump our hosts.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. Well, thanks, Kenz. That's our little Stop. Breathe. Talk. space. Slow down, think about the topic at hand and kind of speak with some intention. So today, we got to talk about preschoolers and parenting them. We know they have so much development, like every stage, right, so much going on. Learning a lot about kind of the norms and the rules of how things work. They're getting better with their body, right, fine motor, gross motor, so much emotional and social development. And we know that, you know, we can set like you said, loving limits. Give them some choices, some independence, but also helping guide them and problem solve.

Lori Korthals:

Yes, so next, we're going to talk about that school age, the elementary age or what is sometimes referred to as middle childhood. But in the meantime, thanks for joining us today on The Science of Parenting podcast and remember to subscribe to our weekly audio podcast on Apple, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. Watch the show on video each week and join us on Facebook and Twitter @scienceofparents and see the content in your feed.

Mackenzie Johnson:

Absolutely. Please do come along with us as we tackle the ups and downs, the ins and outs, and the research and reality all around The Science of Parenting.

Anthony Santiago:

The Science of Parenting is hosted by Lori Korthals and Mackenzie Johnson, produced by Mackenzie DeJong, with research and writing by Barbara Dunn Thompson. Send in questions and comments to parenting@iastate.edu and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For the full non-discrimination statement or accommodation inquiries, go to www.extension.iastate.edu/diversity/ext.