3 Tips for Learning to Pick Your Battles

Parenting preschoolers can feel like a constant battle of wills. Discover three easy tips for learning to pick your battles with your preschoolers.

Parenting preschoolers can feel like a constant battle of wills. Discover three easy tips for learning to pick your battles with your preschoolers.

As parents, we can choose to pick our battles, or we can fight them all. The problem with fighting them all is that everything will then weigh the same. Is leaving the house in matching clothes and tidy hair as important as wearing a seatbelt in the car? Is what they wear to Walmart as important as what they wear to church?

Parents, Pick Your Battles

What is non-negotiable?

We have a handful of non-negotiable rules in our house. These are rules we don’t argue about. They aren’t open to a debate.

Little ones will wear shoes when it’s cold outside. They will sit in their carseats in the car. Preschoolers won’t go in the pool without an adult present. They’ll wear a helmet when riding they’re bikes. Rules that concern the health and safety of my kids (or those in my care) are non-negotiable.

Figure out what should be a sticking point?

Once we’ve determined what’s non-negotiable, we can focus on the things that are open to negotiation and/or compromise.

I remember having a friend over one night when my oldest was a preschooler. I let him go to bed with his tennis shoes on. My friend {with no kids} was mortified that I let him crawl in bed with dirty shoes on. It was at that point that I really thought about which battles I was going to fight. If Logan wore his dirty shoes to bed, I could throw his sheets in the wash the next day {but I probably didn’t.} It much more important to me that my wild boy just go to bed. His shoes were just not a sticking point that night.

There are times I put my foot down and make my children put on matching clothes and fix their hair, but other times it’s not worth the battle. I don’t care if I take Spiderman or Cinderella to the grocery store. But, Christmas pictures require dress clothes. Sometimes everyday things more important than at other times. These are the times I have to decide where to stand my ground, and where to let it go.

Parenting preschoolers can feel like a constant battle of wills. Discover three easy tips for learning to pick your battles with your preschoolers.

Allow natural consequences to occur.

As often as possible, I try to allow natural and logical consequences run their course. If they don’t want to wear their mittens, their hands will be cold. If they don’t put their favorite toy away, it may get broken if someone steps on it. When your preschooler doesn’t eat what’s served, they’ll be hungry before the next meal.

Like adults, kids need the freedom to make decisions and learn from their mistakes and successes. They can’t do that if we are fighting every decision they make.

What do you think?

I think this kind of training starts at a young age. As long as they’re not putting themselves in danger or making decisions that go against our non-negotiables, we try to pick our battles wisely so that when we do stand our ground they know we mean business.

Do you find it difficult to let things go? What tips do you have for picking your battles? Leave me a comment and share your tips.

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  1. I think and feel, there are no things like no – negotiable rules, are supposed to be in your home. Kids are supposed to know, the reasons what may happen if you not wear a seat belt in the car, why the preschooler not supposed to go to the pool by oneself, e.t.c. Not blindly obey to what you think. Make sense for your kids, and with yours rules.

    1. I don’t disagree that kids should know the “why” behind the rules I set in my home. However, there are many that are still non-negotiable. Kids (and many adults) have an “it won’t happen to me” attitude when it comes to wearing seat belts and playing poolside. However, because those things can have fatal consequences playing poolside alone and wearing seat belts in a moving vehicle are non-negotiable. Period.