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What Is My Preschooler Thinking?

Do you ever wish you could get inside your preschooler’s head to find out what they are thinking? That would be especially helpful when you’ve tried everything to get your crying infant back to sleep in the middle of the night. Or when your toddler is inconsolable in the middle of the grocery store. Or when your preschooler unrolls all the toilet paper and redecorates it with permanent marker.

‘What are you thinking?’ Every parent has asked that either out loud or in their head about their preschooler’s behavior. While there’s no way to know what caused the tantrum over the toast being the wrong amount of toasted, there are some tools to know the root of their thoughts and their biggest questions.

Preschoolers think like artists. They blend reality with imagination and learn best through their senses. From birth to preschool, what they lack in sleep, they make up for in curiosity and wonder. Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are all discovering the world around them, and that’s a lot to take in, especially for a developing brain.

While exploring the new world around them, babies are asking (without words), “Am I safe?” Babies thrive when they sense they are safe. That doesn’t mean they won’t cry, but it does inform your parenting. The goal is to establish trust with that tiny, mesmerizing human.

For toddlers, everything is messy all the time because they are constantly insisting, “I can do it!” Each moment, toddlers are testing their boundaries (and maybe yours too). The question underlying every action is, “Am I able?” Help them develop confidence as they interact with their surroundings.

Preschoolers are continually asking, “Why?” about every single thing. Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why can’t I climb to the top of the ladder by myself? They are exploring and discovering by beginning to understand not just what it is but also why it is. They’ve tested their boundaries and are starting to figure out why things are the way they are, but what they are really asking is, “Am I okay?” In this phase, it’s important to cultivate self-control.

The preschool phase is full of discovery and learning. The best thing parents can do for children in these phases is to embrace their physical needs so they can know God’s love and meet God’s family.

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