Pregaming Your Toddler

Toddlers are difficult creatures and in writing this, I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, claim to have things all figured out. “Pregaming” (as we call it) is just one thing that works for us. As with everything, this is not a magic bullet to make your child behave perfectly 100 percent of the time, but we find it helps. Pregaming Your Toddler

I don’t know why I started calling it pregaming. I think about it like sports I guess. I know, it’s shocking that I am using a sports analogy. But in the pregame period, the players are warming up, they’re practicing, they’re stretching, their coach is telling them what to do.

And that’s what I think it’s important and helpful to do with your toddler. To prepare them before the trip/party/big life change. Basically, before we go places, we talk about what it’s going to be like and our expectations for behavior while we are there. When he was younger, this would involve me talking to him, more than with him, just with having a limited vocabulary, but the older he’s gotten, the more we are able to include him in the conversation, especially for places that we go a lot. For example, when we go to church, every time on the way to church, we talk about it and our expectations for church. By now, because we go to church often, I can ask him what do we do at church, be quiet and listen, and we talk about how we’ll learn about Jesus at church and how we should listen to our Sunday School teacher too. This works as they move into preschooler age as well – it’s not just for a toddler.

Like I said, I do feel this helps. And when misbehavior starts, sometimes we are able to redirect and say to him, “Okay, we are at church, what do we do at church?” And help to remind him of those expectations. But he needs to be able to know the expectations ahead of time. Kids need that direction of knowing what to do ahead of time, otherwise it can be easy to get into a struggle with them where you’re frustrated that they’re not acting appropriately for the situation, but often times, kids don’t know what’s appropriate for the situation, so it’s helpful to clue them in.

Maybe you already knew all this and it seems like common sense to you, but it was helpful for us, so I thought I’d pass it along in case it could be helpful to you.

Do you do anything like this? Do you have any helpful toddler parenting tips up your sleeve? 

Photo by David Castillo Dominici from Free Digital Photos

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