Parenting - Preschool

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Playtime is Important pt 2


Earlier this month, we discussed the importance of playtime for our children. We found out that free play is necessary for many types of our child’s development. Today we are going to explore examples of these and how you can help your child make the most of their playtime.

We now know that playtime has a direct result on social and emotional development and cognitive growth. The time before the age of three years old has been referred to as a “critical period” in brain development. Knowing that, as parents it is up to us to provide the most well-rounded opportunities for our child to grow and learn. Playtime is one of the first opportunities that a child has to discover the world. Time for free play has been reduced for some children due to more busy lifestyles, changes in family structures, and an increased number of activities. As parents, we must help to find a balance between structured activities and free play.

You may have a newborn or small infant and think that your child isn’t quite up to playing just yet. At this young age it is up to parents to initiate play and show babies how toys work. You are the one who shakes the toy that makes noise or makes faces and smiles at your baby. This is play for them. This is how they begin to understand how things happen. As a child grows, their play changes. Around the age of two and older, you may be drawn into what they want to do. The older a child is, they will direct the play.

Let’s look into the different types of development with which playtime assists. First, playtime leads to skill development. Infants learn hand-eye coordination by reaching for and playing with toys. As children grow, games and puzzles increase problem solving skills. Has your child ever been so engrossed in what they are doing that they don’t hear you call their name? That playtime is helping with concentration, focusing on a task, expanding attention span and memory. Any type of physical play will assist in maturing large-motor skills and physical development.

Play also aids in a child’s social skills. At first adults are a child’s primary playmate. As children get older, they will enjoy interacting with other children whether it is playing alongside or just observing. This is a way they learn to get along with others and that others have wants and feelings as well. This is where they will learn about sharing, kindness and being part of a group. Social play can strengthen language skills and help children understand social rules.

Playtime helps to cultivate and express a child’s imagination and creativity. When a child is pretending to be a princess or a cowboy they are working through their own ideas and emotions. Coloring, painting, any type of creating falls into this category. Creativity has been shown to help brain development.

Make sure that your children have access to “true toys” like blocks or dolls. Another example could be dress up clothes, play kitchen/household items, and action figures. These toys aren’t electronic and stimulate creativity rather than those that require a more passive participation. Don’t forget to include books at all ages. Just because a child cannot read yet doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t instill a love of books and the pictures/stories inside of them.

Who knew that playtime was so important? Let’s not be in such a hurry for our children to grow up. Allow them to play and make an investment in the person they will become!


Pastor Deknatel

Playtime is Important pt. 1


“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw

Most of us have probably heard that quote before. As adults, we can forget how important playtime is to kids. We live in a time of rushing and busyness. Rushing to get from place to place and rushing our kids to grow up. Sometimes we forget to let our child just be a kid.

However, playtime is crucial in the development of toddlers and preschoolers. A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that unstructured, free playtime is not only healthy, but essential for children in reaching important social, emotional and cognitive development milestones.

Take a few minutes and check out this month’s parenting class on playtime. We will explore why play is so important for our kids. Later this month, we will dig deeper and explore creative ideas for kids and suggestions for parents.


Pastor Deknatel

Don’t make me count to three! Part two.


One of the hardest parts of being a parent is having to discipline your child. No child is perfect and misbehavior is inevitable, but it is so frustrating!

Try to look at this responsibility in a new way. Punishments are unavoidable, but view it as an opportunity to teach your child how to behave. Also, try to understand why your child is behaving that way in the first place. When a young child misbehaves, they are telling you in the only way they know how that they are feeling discouraged, frustrated or angry. Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Are they intentionally trying to act up or are they being curious? Think of times that your child has misbehaved and look at what else is going on at the time. Are you busy on the phone or making dinner? Is your focus on a sibling or another adult? How long has it been since they had your focus? Sometimes when you stop and look at the big picture, it is easier to understand your child. Perhaps a slight change on your part can improve your child’s focus as well!

Be consistent

Consistency truly is key when it comes to discipline and it is crucial for preschoolers. Little ones may need to hear something thirty times (sometimes more) before it starts to sink in! As hard as it is, you have to be firm on what you expect from your child. Decide what behavior you will allow (or not allow) and stick with it. Don’t send mixed signals! Don’t fail to set limits because you don’t like to see your child frustrated. Giving in to demands just encourages them to pitch a fit the next time they don’t get their way. There has to be a balance. We all need limits. The younger a child is, the more defined those limits should be. You are the one who must teach them what is acceptable and what is not. The world would be a very scary place if there were no limits.


Preschoolers are very curious by nature. We want our children to explore and discover the world, but they have to be safe. They also have a fairly short attention span. Make sure you take away temptations to misbehave. Remove them from the area. Redirect them to a new activity and/or location. Offer them something to do that will not result in bad behavior.

Be on the same page

Make sure that everyone who is responsible for your child is on the same page as far as behavior and what is okay. If there are different rules at home than there are at grandma’s house, it will be very easy for misbehaving to occur. Be a model for your child’s behavior. Show your kids what you want them to do. If they are playing too rough, show them how to play nice. Make it very clear what you expect from them. This way there is no question whether or not they understand. You must be involved in raising your child. They aren’t just going to automatically know how to behave.


There of course will be times that consequences are necessary. This is where parents use different techniques like warnings, time outs, or withholding privileges or treats. Different consequences will work differently on each child. You may have to discover what is effective for your child. Whatever you do, don’t discipline your child out of anger. Count to ten and cool off before you act. An important tip, praise good behavior. Acting out is a sure-fire way to get attention. Praising them when they are doing well lets your child know that they don’t just get attention by misbehaving. Show them that good behavior will also get them the attention that they crave.

Discipline is not about what we are doing to our kids, but rather what we are doing for them. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. Give them the training they need. Make it easy for your child to do the right thing!


Pastor Deknatel

Don't Make Me Count to Three


Don’t make me count to three! How many times have those words come out of your mouth? It’s time to talk about one of the hardest parts of being a parent; how to discipline your child. Everyone has an opinion about the best way to do it, but we aren’t here to dictate the best way to you. This month, we want to give you some insight as to why your child misbehaves and hopefully give you some solutions to help you.

As parents it is our job to reinforce good behavior and lessons with consistency, patience and compassion, but what is the best way to do that? Have you ever thought to yourself, why is my child acting this way? In order to be the best parent we can be, it is important to get past the behavior and look at the motivation behind it.

Take a few minutes and look at this month’s video on discipline. We will address some issues that we all have to address with our children. Later this month, we will dig a little deeper and give you some ideas and suggestions.


Pastor Deknatel

What to do when your child is afraid



Everyone, from the youngest child to the oldest adult, experiences anxieties and fears at one time or another. Feeling anxious in a particularly uncomfortable situation never feels very good. However, with children, such feelings are not only normal, they are also necessary. Dealing with anxieties can prepare young children to handle the unsettling experiences and challenging situations of life.

Young children can get spooked by just about anything — the dark, the wind, or even a favorite stuffed animal. Or they seem to sail through a real frightening situation, only to become afraid of something days or weeks later. No matter how scared your child gets, childhood fears are usually nothing to worry about. They are normal emotions that help your children figure out how the world works.

Take a deep breath and try to understand why your child is afraid. Some other ways to handle fears are listed below:

  1. Let your child know that you take their fears seriously.
  2. Give your child truthful information on topics such as death or war, and let them know you are willing to answer any questions.
  3. Encourage your child to confront the object of their fear, such as dogs, one step at a time at their own pace. For example, perhaps start with pictures, then try a very small, gentle dog that is tied up, so the child decides how close to get.
  4. Allow your child some control. For example, if they are afraid of intruders, make shutting and locking their bedroom window one of their night-time responsibilities.
  5. Daily routines and rituals give a child a sense of stability and security, and may ease general anxiety.

More than anything, help them understand God’s love and care.  Read these verses below and think about how you can convey the bottom line principle to your child the next time they are afraid;

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

There is no doubt about it. Life can be scary at times for children. We cannot keep our children from everything they fear—nor should we even try, but we can help them learn ways to be brave. It is an important step to growing up.


Understanding Your Child’s Fear of the Dark



Never fails: After an exhausting day at work, you are getting your child ready for bed and gently tucked in. You lean down to kiss his forehead softly and turn away to close the bedroom door. On your way out you flick the switch to his lamp off. Suddenly, there is uncontrollable sobbing and your child’s rapid heartbeat. You stand in the doorway debating whether or not to go back inside and comfort your child or simply close the door and let him cry it out.

But, you must ask yourself, what is he thinking? Is he thinking that he cannot see what is out there and he feels unprotected in the dark? Most children are afraid of the dark on some level – it is a very common fear of the unknown. To combat this fear, try teaching your child how to turn on lights around the house, and add a night-light to his bedroom. Allow your children to control the amount of light they have on when they go to sleep and gradually decrease it over time. Help your child understand darkness by going on a night walk together and discussing all the new and interesting things you can see when it is dark.

Above all else, point your child to the precious love Jesus has for them.  On more than one occasion, Jesus’ disciples were overcome with fear.  Once, they were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a fierce storm arose.  The disciples were terribly afraid, all the while Jesus slept in the back of the boat.  When they could take it no longer, they woke Him and Jesus addressed the wind and the waves; “Peace!  Be still!”  He let His disciples know that while He was with them, they didn’t have to be afraid.  Let your little one know that same thing.  Jesus is with them.  Jesus loves them.  Jesus will take care of them—always!

Take some time to check out this month’s video to see how you can deal with your child’s fear. Later in the month you’ll receive some practical tools for how to prevent some fears and help your child deal with fears when they do take place.


Pastor Deknatel

"Separation Anxiety" pt 2

Clinginess and tears are actually a healthy reaction to separation. It shows our child is bonded to us. As a child grows older separation anxiety should lessen. In the meantime how do we deal with it as a parent?

We can’t always be WITH our child, but there is One who is ALWAYS with them. And not only is Jesus always with them, His affection for them is always present. Romans 8:35-39 says,
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So as we REST in the fact that God is always present with our child, and has a constant love for them what can we DO as parents to help a child move past separation anxiety?

  1. Develop a goody-bye ritual. Don’t sneak away when you’re child isn’t looking. This actually leads to more anxiety. Give a kiss on the forehead, say, “I love you. Bye Bye sweetie.”
  2. Be consistent. Your child will become more comfortable with drop off at daycare and/or church as they become more consistent with the environment.
  3. Leave with confidence. If you walk out of the room then turn back around and return to retrieve your child, you are reinforcing the thought that something is wrong. Give the teacher your cell phone # and have them shoot you a quick text in 5 minutes to give you a status update.
  4. Come up with a comfort object. Sometimes sending in a special object from home helps a child transition better.

Separation anxiety is lessened when we as the parent exude confidence and calmness at drop off. Leaving your child will actually help your child in the end, so fight the urge to feel guilty about leaving them. Your job as a parent is to help them become independent, and they can’t do that while clinging to your leg!