Preschool Tips

When it comes to Preschool, we've been there, done that, now serving 51 tips in 15 categories ranging from Choosing a Preschool to Preschoolers At Home.


Forget all the "new-age" parenting advice and go with the tried-and-true discipline techniques.

Up to 2 years: Your child is still learning your language. This means that he or she might not understand what you are saying or comprehend that there will be a consequence. The best discipline at this age is to say, "NO!" in a firm voice with a frown on your face and remove the child from the situation, or redirect him to something more appropriate.

2-3 years: By this time your child shoud understand what you are saying, however he will exercise his independence by choosing not to obey. If you ignore this behavior, you can expect your child to continue to obey only when he feels like it or only if you will reward him in some way. You must be consistent in your response. When he chooses not to obey, you can try putting him in time-out or sending him to his room for 2-3 minutes. For more serious infractions, he may need a small spank on his bare bottom. Always hug him afterwards and explain the reason for the spanking. Never spank in anger.

3-4 years: You can continue to use time-outs and spanking for this age, but now you may also include removing privileges (no TV, iPad, etc.) or sending him to bed early.

4-5 years: Removing privileges, early bedtime, and adding extra chores can be an effective discipine at this age. Save spankings as a last resort for the most serious of infractions (lying, disrespect, defiance).


ClickStart - My First Computer by Leapfrog

This is a great little first computer for preschoolers. To begin with, the keyboard is set up like a "real" keyboard (QWERT) instead of the typical ones that start with A. The rows of keys are different colors, so if your child is having trouble finding a letter, you can give him a hint by telling him what color the key is. It comes with a few games already installed, with 2 different levels to challenge your child as they grow. My son started using it at age 2 at Level 1, and now at almost 4, he is on Level 2. There are a lot of different games you can buy for it as well, with the popular TV and movie characters your child likes. Another great feature is the fact that the keyboard is wireless. This is great if you have other children (toddlers and babies) around because your preschooler can play with his computer and there are no cords for the other children to grab and pull or trip over.

The only downside that I have found is that since the keyboard works with your TV, your child is going to view this toy as more of a video game, instead of a computer. So if your preschooler is excited about having a computer or laptop like Mom and Dad, it really doesn't seem like the same thing. However, that is really only a minor setback. The main thing is that it teaches your child keyboarding and mouse skills, it's completely safe, and makes learning fun, which is really all you can ask for at this age.


Your Child at Five Years Old

This is a brief summary of what to expect for a five-year-old's development. If you have any specific concerns or questions, you should address those with your child's pediatrician.

Physical Development

  • assists with making own bed

  • colors within the lines

  • ties own shoes

  • jumps rope

Social Development

  • is aware of gender

  • separates fantasy from reality

  • comforts friends and others when they are sad

  • understands there are rules when playing games

  • expresses feelings

  • wants to please friends

  • wants to be like friends

  • agrees to rules

  • likes to sing, dance, and act

  • shows more independence

Cognitive Development

  • uses past, present, and future tenses correctly

  • groups similar objects together

  • understands the idea of today, tomorrow, and yesterday

  • identifies most letters and numbers

  • retells a story from a picture book


Five year olds still need lots of sleep and many will still take a nap. During the school year, bedtime should be strictly enforced to ensure your child gets enough sleep, usually no later than 8pm.


Keep children healthy by encouraging them to eat a variety of foods, get regular exercise, and choose a diet with plenty of grains, vegetables, fruits, and vitamins to meet their growing body's requirements.


Your Child at Four Years Old

This is a brief summary of what to expect for a four-year-old's development. If you have any specific concerns or questions, you should address those with your child's pediatrician.

Physical Development

  • walks backwards

  • jumps forward many times

  • somersaults

  • walks up and down stairs

  • uses safety scissors

  • cuts on line

  • copies squares and crosses

  • prints a few capital letters

  • draws a person

Social Development

  • enjoys playing with other children

  • takes turns and shares

  • seeks out adult approval

  • understands and obeys simple rules

  • likes to talk and carries on conversations

  • understands jealousy

  • fears the dark and monsters

  • begins to understand danger

  • has difficulty separating make-believe from reality

  • feels anger and frustration and may still throw tantrums

  • enjoys pretending, creates imaginary playmates

Cognitive Development

  • groups and matches objects

  • organizes materials

  • asks "why" and "how"

  • tells own name and age

  • pays attention for longer periods of time

  • learns by watching and listening

  • shows awareness of past and present

  • follows a series of two to four directions

  • uses words out of context

  • points to and names colors

  • understands order and process

  • counts to five

  • knows the name of their street and town


Four year olds need at least 12 hours of sleep per day. Some children will still take a short nap in the afternoon, while others may have given up napping altogether. It is common for children this age to resist sleep, and to get out of bed at night with various excuses not to go to sleep.


Proper nutrition includes three meals a day, with two nutritious snacks. Limit high sugar and high fat foods, and encourage healthy choices of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and low fat dairy products.


Your Child at Three Years Old

This is a brief summary of what to expect for a three-year-old's development. If you have any specific concerns or questions, you should address those with your child's pediatrician.

Physical Development

  • throws and kicks balls

  • begins to copy capital letters

  • draws circles and squares

  • dresses and undresses self

Social Development

  • engages in pretend play

  • cooperates with other children

  • looks for ways to solve problems

Cognitive Development

  • identifies "same" and "different"

  • speaks in short sentences

  • tells and remembers parts of stories


At some point between the ages of 3 and 4, children commonly give up their afternoon nap. This means they will need to go to bed earlier to compensate for the lost sleep. Children this age need anywhere from 9-13 hours of sleep each day.


At this age, your child's eating habits should be similar to your own, eating the same foods at the same times. Choking is still considered a hazard because your child has not yet mastered chewing and swallowing.


Make Your Own Bubbles!

All preschoolers love bubbles, and it is very simple to make your own. Here are the ingredients:

1/2 gallon of water

1/2 cup of Dawn or Joy dishwashing liquid

1/4 cup of glycerine

Mix the ingredients together in a wide container being careful not to make foam. If the solution becomes too foamy, wait a few minutes to allow it to settle. When you are finished, store the solution in a sealed container. The solution will get better with time.

Glycerine, or glycerin, can usually be found in most drug stores. It is essential to prevent the bubbles from breaking too quickly. If it is not available, try adding 1/4 cup of corn syrup or 1 tbsp of sugar to the solution instead.

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Susan Sayour