The other day I was in the checkout line behind a young mom with two children under the age of five. She was simultaneously trying to get her older child to help her unload the cart, while also answering her younger child’s questions and keeping his busy hands from handling things she had no intention of buying for him. She looked tired and I don’t blame her.
Parenting preschoolers can be exhausting. Everything is new to them. They are built to explore everything in order to quickly ramp up their knowledge base. This often involves exploring things they shouldn’t, which means teaching appropriate boundaries almost non-stop. They are also trying to figure out what they can and can’t do physically. This means lots of accidents, clumsiness and touching and handling things which shouldn’t be touched or handled. Of course, this requires more limit teaching and limit reinforcing. Experiments with language also require more teaching, more limits, more reinforcement.
Let’s be honest. The parent of a preschooler has basically a non-stop running monologue that consists of “No!” “I said no!” “Please don’t touch that” “Be gentle” and answering thousands of important questions which usually begin with “Why?”. Frankly, there are days when the idea of running a marathon seems easier than keeping up your pace for the ten hours left in the day.
I will tell you what I told that precious mom who was trying so hard to train her children to be helpful, respectful and obedient in the checkout line. “God bless you! Keep doing that hard work every day. If you can be consistent and use godly principles as your foundation, you will never regret it. You will find the rest of childhood and even the teen years a breeze in comparison.”
So hang in there, Mom! I know you are tired, but I promise you there will be time for rest later. Right now love those precious little ones. Teach them about God and His commands. Teach them how much God loves them. Teach them we show our love back to God by obeying His commands and loving and serving others and telling them about God. Set firm, consistent limits and enforce them consistently. Give meaningful consequences for disobedience. Enter your children’s worlds and help them discover their God given potential. You won’t regret it for a minute.