Until the age of daycare rears its head, few new parents understand that things can get trickier than they already are. Parents with more than one child, on the other hand, prepare themselves from the time their bundle of joy makes an appearance into our complicated world. This is because they have a clear idea of what awaits them.
Often, after the third birthday, parents may wonder when the magical bedtime routines, lovely mealtimes, and enjoyable trips around the neighborhood will begin to happen. After all, this stage is often called the “magic years.” However, although there are certain things kids should outgrow by their third birthday, parents are mostly to blame for most of the troublesome issues or moments.
To make it clear, this does not mean that a toddler’s embarrassing public temper tantrum over not having the permission to have their way is the parents’ fault. Rather, parents may be unknowingly enabling such behavior with their responses or conduct. Obviously, it is going to be difficult for a parent to leave their child in the care of someone else for the first time, especially as they think about the amazing time they spent taking care and bonding with the tiny perfect person they created.
The internal struggle can be beyond anything parents have experienced before. With this in mind, parents need to stop doing these 20 things by the time they send their kids off to daycare.
20 Taking Caregivers For Granted
As much as most caregivers love children, they still have a personal life. Some parents may think that it is perfectly fine to be late; even hours late. Whether the caregiver is a daycare facility, grandparent, aunt, or uncle, it is important to respect their help and not take them for granted. Most daycare facilities do not have extended hours, which may pose a dilemma for caregivers.
For example, what is a caregiver supposed to do when a parent informs them that they will be late for two to three hours, yet they already had plans that night? According to redbookmag.com, the official policy of many daycare centers, whenever a parent is more than an hour late is for the caregivers to contact the police.
19 Being Too Clingy
By the time parents send their kids off to daycare, they need to have developed a sort of parting routine because according to helpguide.com, it is normal for a toddler to feel anxious when saying goodbye. As difficult as it may be, it helps small kids deal with the emotional toll of separation. A quick hug, funny story, and words of love, as well as a promise of when you will come for him or her, can have an amazing effect on their emotional wellbeing.
Stick to this routine every time you leave them and resist the overpowering urge to either cut the routine short or extend it. When parents do this, their kids get to know what to expect when the time comes for them to go to daycare.
18 Focusing On The Negative
Sometimes, it is easy to shine a spotlight on a kid’s negative actions, like screaming in public and yelling and ignore the positive ones. It may seem like any time spent with a child of any age revolves around stopping them from screaming, jumping on the couch or table, or other annoying actions.
Parents may find it difficult to get out of this cycle. However, they can do it by starting to hone in on the positive instead of the negative. Instead of yelling at a toddler for doing something bad, parents should praise and encourage them for doing something good. Statements like “You are being so nice honey,” are more effective when it comes to helping them change their behavior.
17 Tolerating The Mess
As every parent knows, kids only need a few minutes to make a huge mess when they start crawling or walking. This is normal as they start to explore their surroundings; however, it does not mean it is ok. A 3-year-old, on the other hand, understands his or her surroundings and knows what he or she is doing.
According to Parents, some daycare-age toddlers may even mess up a whole room on purpose, just for the fun of it. Rather than ignoring the situation, parents should encourage and praise them whenever they see them putting away their stuff and cleaning up after themselves. Not only will this make the little ones happy, but it will also encourage them to do it again.
16 Giving In To Tantrums
According to stanfordchildrens.com, children let out strong emotions through temper tantrums before they know how to express themselves in a socially acceptable way. However, one bad thing parents can do is to ignore a temper tantrum from their kids, only for them to give in soon afterward. Most toddlers understand the effects of their tantrums early on, so from three years of age, this behavior will become harder to get rid of.
Therefore, if one is still pretending not to notice the tantrums by the time the child is three years of age, then it is especially important to change by the time the child starts to attend daycare. Parents should help their kids understand that it is not by throwing tantrums that they get what they want.
15 Always Picking-Up The Slack
Most times, parents may find it easier to do everything themselves. For example, letting their little one help with the dishes may take twice as long as doing the dishes themselves. However, preventing toddlers from helping may actually be bad for their development.
According to SmartParenting, letting toddlers perform some simple household chores will foster self-reliance, a sense of responsibility, independence, empathy, and make them feel part of the family. In addition, they will carry the skills and attitude they learn by doing chores into their adult life when they get a family or run their home on their own.
14 Clinging To The Pacifier
As controversial a matter as this one is, it is important for parents to understand the importance of getting rid of the pacifier when their kids are almost 3 years of age or older. Some kids develop a very strong attachment to their pacifier; however, according to knowyourteeth.com, over-reliance on it can cause dental problems.
If the pacifier is a source of comfort for one’s child, there are certain clever techniques that moms can use to help their kids decide they do not need it anymore. For example, seasoning the pacifier with a not so tasty but safe and edible compound or cutting the tip is sure to work.
13 Saying NO To Everything
Obviously, responsible parents should not give in to every one of their child's whims. However, it is easy to be caught up in a whirlwind of saying no to their kids over every request even without thinking about it. At some point, parents need to understand that saying yes can be a good thing, especially if their kid’s requests do no harm.
As childcare experts explain, parents should learn to pick their battles. Children tend to tune out the “no” and not grasp the principles or values behind the denial. This is according to the book The Discipline Miracle, by Pearson.
12 Not Teaching Social Skills
It is important to understand the value of imparting emotional and social skills to kids. Parents should not leave this responsibility sorely in the hands of caregivers. According to research from Duke University and Pennsylvania State University, toddlers with some social and emotional skills have a better chance of understanding their feelings, relating with their peers, and resolving problems as they grow up.
Those with limited social and emotional skills, on the other hand, have a higher chance of falling into vices and lawlessness by age 25. Teaching these skills from an early age is one of the most important things parents can do to prepare their kids for a bright future.
You do not need to offer your child a cookie or ice cream to get them to take a bath or go to bed. It may save you from having to deal with the fussing and headaches, but it will not always work. In fact, it will quickly go downhill. Eventually, that tactic will force you to offer a treat every time you want them to do anything.
Taking them to the daycare in the morning will turn into a nightmare. You may need to stock up on the cookies if they decide not to go. As a family therapist and author, David Gruder, points out, offering treats to kids in order to get them to do simple things teaches them to expect a reward even for basic behaviors.
10 Not Explaining Short Separations
Three-year-olds may have limited language skills; however, according to healthyway.com, they still understand more than most adults may think. Before the time comes for parents to send their kids off to daycare they should stop underestimating their intelligence and trust that they will understand. They need to help them deal with separations, however brief, by explaining to them what will happen.
Even better, they should paint a picture of the fun they will have by playing outside, having snacks, and more. Finally, they should always assure their kids that they will always be back for them. Ignoring to explain separation can have a negative effect when it comes to sending kids off to daycare.
9 Being Too Controlling
According to the Independent, sometimes, parents have the urge to control every aspect of their children’s lives. Some might be feeling as if their children are not making the right decisions. However, like everyone else, toddlers crave some level of freedom. While it is not practical or healthy for parents to let their kids decide everything, they can let them make basic choices.
They should let kids choose things such as cereal instead of pancakes for breakfast, which will make them feel like they are more in control. Instead of choosing for them or forcing them, they should start giving them options, which can make a huge difference when it comes to their behavior, self-esteem, and overall cooperation.
8 Tolerating Food Pickiness
Many parents like to believe that their children will not be picky eaters. They may hold on to this belief or hope up until the day their little ones stubbornly refuse to eat something they liked just last week, claiming it to be "gross or yucky.”
Confused by this reaction, they try everything they can to get their kids to eat, only to be unsuccessful. Parents with a kid approaching the daycare age should resist becoming short-order cooks and making too many accommodations. Rather, they should ensure their child eats whatever the rest of the family is eating, according to NPR. It is always a good idea to have something the child likes on his or her plate regardless of what the family is eating.
7 Using Negative Labels
It is common to hear parents say “don’t mind him, he’s a little troublesome.” Or “he’s painfully shy.” As kids grow up, they continue to understand and remember the things that their parents said about them, even the negative things that mom or dad should not have said. Therefore, according to parenting.com, parents should avoid using negative labels when referring to their kids.
Attaching such labels can make kids feel like there is something wrong with them. Instead, parents should say things like "once she feels comfortable, she will open up.” This tells the child and other people that one understands how they feel, which helps them deal with any situation when they are ready.
6 Dictating What They Wear
Three-year-olds do not like it when parents baby them all the time. They want parents to treat them as grown-ups and would want an opportunity to prove that they can do things such as dressing themselves and parents agrees with them. Therefore, rather than actually pulling the shirt over their kids' heads, parents should instead offer options and let them do the rest by themselves, which will give them a feeling of being in control of their lives.
In addition to fostering cooperativeness, it will also save time because parents will get an opportunity to do other things instead of spending extra time perfecting their kids’ fashion. This is especially important for parents with more than one young child.
5 Engaging In Tit For Tat
Parents who try to play a tit for tat yelling game with their kids are bound to lose. A 2-year-old’s yelling can drive one up the wall. Unfortunately, a 3-year-old’s screams are worse. It can be hard not to yell when one is trying to get them to listen or do something, but the last thing parents want to end up doing is yelling right back at their little ones.
In fact, children rarely hear or obey the instructions their parents give through yelling. The best reaction, according to BounceBackParenting, is taking a pause before reacting, counting to ten, listening to their emotions, and finally recapitulating.
4 Ignoring The Basics
Getting a stubborn toddler to do the essentials, such as brushing their teeth, can seem like an impossible task. They can actually refuse to let one in by shutting their mouths. However, as challenging as this task may be, under no circumstances should parents give up on their quest of making sure that they have clean teeth. Actually, Healthyfamiliesbc.com explains that parents can start their kids off to a great start by cleaning their teeth twice daily.
Daycare age kids are not motivated to clean their teeth; they would rather do something else that is pleasing and fun. Therefore, in order to put an end to such resistance, parents should make certain basic chores a fun ritual for their kids. For example, playing copycat with their kids while brushing teeth.
3 Using The Baby Crib
Just like with potty training, another thing parents should have taught their children by the time they send them off to daycare is having them continue to sleep in a baby crib. According to babycenter.com, at 3 years old, the not so little one is ready to move out of the crib and on to a regular bed or to a toddler's bed.
In addition, parents should begin transitioning them into their own bedrooms if they have not done so yet. 3-year-old toddlers can easily climb out of their cribs using some monkey-like skills that may become dangerous, so, parents should consider switching them to a regular bed.
2 Clinging To The Old Nap Routine
Parents who are about to send their kids off to daycare may need to drop the old nap routine. In fact, according to BabyCenter, about a quarter of rambunctious toddlers stop taking naps altogether by the time they turn 3 years of age.
Consequently, as worrisome as this may be for many parents, they simply need to stop trying to force their kids to nap if all it results in is stress or bad emotions and the child not getting any sleep anyway. They might as well try to get them to bed earlier each night, as long as they get twelve hours of sleep.
1 Discarding The Bedtime Routine
Bedtime routines such as reading to kids are very important, according to SeattleChildrens.com. Even reading for a few minutes every night can be beneficial to young kids because it spurs their thirst for knowledge and learning and helps develop their language skills.
In addition to reading, parents should stick to the same bedtime routines that will ensure their kids get at least 12 hours of sleep every night. For example, they should not let them stay up past 9pm only to wake them up early. Routine is important, but so are the wind-down actions such as a warm bath and turning the lights down.
Sources: parents.com, kidshealth.org, smartparenting.com, raisingchildren.net.au, bouncebackparenting.com, parenting.com, seattlechildrens.org, knowyourteeth.com, healthyfamiliesbc.ca, parenting.com, npr.org, independent.co.uk, redbookmag.com, helpguide.org