The years before kindergarten your preschooler will grow leaps and bounds, mentally, emotionally and physically.

Parents share resources and advice about raising 3 to 5 year olds, including potty training, early education, behavioral struggles and more.

Contigo water bottle recall

My kids exclusively use this water bottle and I just saw 5.7 million have been recalled! Favorite kids water bottle alternatives that are also not plastic?

Suggestions for celebrating black history month?

February is black history month and I've been slacking. My older daughter has been learning about some famous African Americans in preschool but I want to do more at home too. Ideas for books or activities that are good for a 4.5 and almost 2 year old?

I’m having trouble potty training My 4 yard old son

I put him on the toilet every hour he will go but then after four hours he will not go anymore and he will not poop on the toilet And he will not sit on the toilet for five minutes only sit on they for a second and then wants off I don’t know what to do What should I do

  • Donelle

    I’m having that problem right now with my 3 year old but I didn’t start out with the hour I started with every tens minutes. The only really mine is so off track is cause not everyone does it how I do it.

  • Julie

    I had my 2 year old son not wear anything just a T-shirt showed him to pee and poop in this Potty chair At first he didn’t get it, he peed on himself and he didn’t like it and I guess he figured it out to like sit down and he got it. I gave him an M&Ms whenever he peed or pooped to give him a treat/ reward and he got the hang of it. But every child is different and it takes time.

My three year old with anxiety

My step daughter has been through more in her three years than I have my entire life, she is going through a really hard time at daycare, I work there and I witness everything. She is such a happy and fun loving girl at home and I am really struggling watching her turn into an anxiety ridden girl who throws major meltdowns, where all she does is scream and cry for at least 10 minutes. She is on... More

  • Anonymous

    sorry to hear she is having a hard time at school. I agree with other's here, the school/teachers should be more accommodating for her special needs, if they are unable to do so it's worth looking at other nearby schools in the area if they have better care for her needs. Her anxiety and meltdowns at school is likely due to their inability to properly teach and communicate with others a... More

  • Sara

    I'd suggest looking for another daycare, maybe a smaller one. A good daycare will make accommodations for different children within reason and a special box of things sounds like a very reasonable accommodation.

What's your typical lunch menu? Would love to hear some ideas :)

  • Sara

    Usually a sandwich for the main course (sunbutter and jelly because my daughter’s preschool is nut-free or turkey), fruit or applesauce packet, and sometimes a veggie like sliced carrot. When we are at home we do a lot of chicken nuggets or pasta (mac n cheese, tortellini, plain pasta with butter) + cooked veggie for lunch. Or other times whatever we had for dinner the night before 🤷🏻‍♀️

  • Leslie C.
    check_circleChild Care Provider Thursday

    Pinterest has tons of ideas for toddlers, if that's what your looking for... Pepperoni slices, cheese slices, cut up cooked chicken, cooked broccoli, carrot sticks, cut up fruit, mixed veggies, yogurt, spiral wraps, cheese quesadillas,....the list goes on & on!

Anonymous posted in Activities & Enrichment Feb 10

Hiking with Toddlers

Taking my almost 4yr old twins on an outdoorsy trip with my family. Planning a few family friendly easy hikes while we are there. Any advice on taking kids this age hiking? I’m sure they will make a good portion of it walking themselves ... though I foresee a lot of time spent carrying them. They are probably too big for those hiking carrier backpacks right??

  • B
    Feb 12

    Snacks. Bring lots of snacks. I’d plan on them walking the whole time and just taking breaks when they need it. Scavenger hunts, talking about what they see as they walk, family songs, etc. and snacks. My sister also uses mms or tic tacs as “power boosts” when things are really dragging

  • anonymous mom
    Feb 12

    If you live near an REI you can rent a hiking backpack, at that age buying a good one doesn’t make much sense. But snacks and water breaks should also help you get them to the end with minimal carrying. At that age you can also do a scavenger hunt to keep them occupied while they hike too, it’ll keep their minds off the walking part😃. My mom used to take us on lots of hikes and she’d help us co... More

Potty training nightmare

My one year has no problem sitting on the toilet and going potty, my almost 2 year old however refuses to sit on it and screams/kicks/cries/and makes her leg stiff straight. I don’t know what to do, she doesn’t like diapers much anymore and comes asks for a change when she done pooping/peeing. Any recommendations?

  • Destin
    Feb 10

    Your one year old is potty trained? Wow!!

  • Yuyuita
    Feb 11

    My daughter was the same she refused to sit on the potty, she cried and didn’t even try to sit on it, until I gave her a tiny chocolate every time she would pee in the potty, it’s been a month since then and she is being doing great, in the first weeks she few accidents, now she only wears a diaper when we go out, she even wakes up at night to tell me she need to use the potty i was afraid to d... More

Mrs. HHH posted in Clothes Feb 07

Best slip on shoe for toddlers/preschoolers?

Is there something you like similar to Crocs or Natives for kids shoes? My son hates putting on shoes with Velcro He prefers to slip his foot into something. Prefer no heel or low heel. Not flip flop

  • T
    Feb 09

    Get a pair of Hickies no tie shoe laces and any shoe can potentially become a slip on shoe. They come in all different colors and that way you’re not stuck having to rely on a pair or two of shoes.

  • Anonymous

    We ve gotten the Target brand version of Crocs and they were cheaper and great! We also have some New Balance sneakers that just have elastic in the front instead of shoelaces. Both my kids love them, they seem comfortable and easy for a toddler get on and off themselves.

Deciding on the right type of childcare for your family

How were you able to decide which type of childcare was right for you? There seem to be so many choices, from private nannies to nanny shares to in-home daycares to daycare centers to co-working spaces that have childcare. What factors did your family take into consideration when deciding on the type of childcare to choose?

  • Laura
    Feb 07

    Logistics of travel was my main criteria. We only considered daycares near my work or near our home. Also logistics and guarantee of a spot. With the big institutional daycares near my work, as long as you signed up a year in advance, you'd get a spot. Nanny shares tend to come together last minute, require more legwork to find another family and a nanny you like, and all that sounded stre... More

  • William Hopson
    Feb 08

    I think For some families, the most convenient option is having the caregiver come to your own home. In some cases, caregivers may even live in the family home. The advantages to this approach include the potential for your child to receive more individual attention, limited exposure to seasonal ailments such as colds and the flu, and your child’s comfort level with a familiar place.this has al... More

Anonymous posted in Behavior Feb 06

Social skills and confidence building in a 5 year old

My 5-year-old appears to be socially awkward even in a known environment. She shows very low self-esteem and is not open about her feelings to us so hard to help. She starts kindergarten soon so I want to be able to help her build confidence. Tried zillion play dates, exposures to activities and people, talking with her but nothing seems to help. Any suggestions?

  • Lexi
    Feb 13

    Does she seem nervous/anxious or just more reserved than other children? Lots of nonjudgmental positive reinforcement and trust building can be helpful. Point out small accomplishments; for example: "you zipped your coat up!" "That was hard for you and you did it!" Observational statements instead of "good job" go a lot farther when building a child's confidenc... More

  • Anonymous
    Feb 13


My 3 yr girl is just not getting trained even after trying for a year

Ive been potty traing her since 2 yrs of age. She wasnt always telling us but there were signs. I took the diapers off completely. She does great at night. Wakes up all dry.Daytime has always been challenging. I ask her if she wants to go and she just says no.But then goes in pull-up unless i take her to potty in time.her pullups are always wet in daytime.she was telling me when needed to go po... More

  • Erum
    Feb 14

    Thank you everyone for the advice. Taking away pullups isn't an issue. Lately she's just scared of the potty seat and doesn't want to go on it. Not even in the house. It's more about getting over her fear of the toilet seat. I don't know how to help her with that. Ive bought and tried pottetts and travel seats and she knows exactly when she needs to go she has even figured o... More

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the good advices

Valentine's Crafts & Ideas

Hi All! Valentine's Day is two weeks away and I'm wondering if anyone has ideas for some great Valentine's-themed crafts, snacks, etc? I love making pink cupcakes (with food coloring) and making homemade Valentine's Day cards. What are some other unique and festive ideas?

  • Amanda
    Feb 05

    I just did a craft with 6yoM where we used paper hearts (hearts I had cut out beforehand using construction paper) to make animals! We put hearts of different sizes and colors together to make turtles, dogs, cats, elephants, etc. It was a really fun and neat project!

  • anonymous mom
    Feb 07

    My daughter loves dot dot I drew some valentine themed things on white paper and asked her if she wanted to trace them out with her dot dot markers and she loved it. Another idea that’s crafty and fun and super cheap is to paint rocks. I mean, it sounds so silly but my daughters preschool did this last year and then they sent the painted rocks home with the kids on Valentine’s D... More

2.5 yo biting people

My son when we go to organized group events like mommy and me has taken to biting. It seems to be over an object or frustration, but there are no cues leading up to biting, it happens in a split second. I'm at a loss on the discipline standpoint aside from removing him completely and explaining that we can no longer do these things if he is going to bite. I also explain how that child feels... More

  • Diana
    Jan 28

    My child LOVES Daniel Tiger’s song, “When you get so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.” She watches that one episode over and over and sings it all the time. I think that would be a good way to introduce an alternate way to act when he frustrated (because let’s be honest - using words can be hard! I know I don’t want to immediately talk calmly when my child’s d... More

  • Kailynn
    Jan 28

    Thank you. I'll definitely go back to Daniel tiger. Agreed there are times where I tell him to take a deep breath so we can both calm down and breathe through it together lol!

Anonymous posted in Child Care Jan 23

This is not going to sound good.

This is so inappropriate, prejudicial, and likely sexist of me but I am having a really hard time. My daughters preschool (she’s 2.5) has hired a male teacher. They’ve done this before but the male teachers have always ended up in the older wing. They’ve hired one now for my daughters age group and I just don’t feel okay about it. I know, I know. I KNOW. but I’m still having a hard time. I gues... More

  • Shana
    Feb 10

    My feeling about this is, maybe this teacher is great but if you have this much stress about it, just ask to have your child moved. It isn't a judgement on this guy in particular, it is just what you need to feel safe during the day when your child is there. Yes, there are a lot of amazing male preschool teachers. But also yes trauma is real and it affects you. So just own that it affects y... More

  • Anonymous
    Feb 10

    Hi all, thanks again for everyone’s kind words and support. I ended up not having to talk to anyone because the day after the teacher was hired he quit, citing familial issues. I hope everything is okay with him. My daughter is more verbal daily and I will trust the people I leave her with more once she transitions up to preschool. If before then a male teacher is hired for her room I’ll reques... More

Samm posted in Behavior Jan 22


My children absolutely don't respect their things, no matter how cheap or expensive. My 11 year old sons tablet has an absolutely smashed screen and I have told him that if he wants nicer things to take care of and cherish them. But to no avail he still destroys his things along with his 8 year old brother. And it's rubbing off to their 4 year old sister. None of them care for their things.

  • Anonymous
    Jan 24

    I agree. Or what might be even more impactful is if they have any money saved or little jobs, to show them how much work it is to pay off the fix. Make as real world as possible. The reason we care for our high cost items is because we know how much work we have to do to pay for them. So recreate that for them. Don’t sugarcoat it

Anonymous posted in Potty Training Jan 22

Nighttime Potty Training

My almost 4yr old has been potty trained for over a year now, but we can’t kick wetting the bed at night. We still put him in a pull up at night and have tried to go without it ... but I just end up washing sheets everyday!! Any advice??? Ideas? He doesn’t seem to even notice if he pees the bed, he ll just wake up in a puddle 🤦‍♀️

  • B
    Jan 23

    Talk to your pediatrician. But I’ve done some reading on this, and nightime potty training is about when the body starts making a hormone that decreases urge to pee at night. Some kids it happens later. Not something you can teach. Best you can do is reduce liquids at night, and/or do a nightime pee when you’re going to bed. Also, pull-ups aren’t very absorbent. .

  • Ashlea
    Feb 01

    Thank you for this question and the thoughtful responses. My youngest is 3 and we’re in the same boat, I’m going to give the middle of the night wake ups a shot will report back

Anonymous posted in Trauma & Grief Jan 20

Talk to 4 yr old about death

My father-in-law is on hospice and will pass any day now. My 4yr old son is relatively close. When the time comes, how do I tell him? I’ve told him his grandpa was sick already but how do I talk about death correctly?

  • Anne
    Jan 22

    I'm sorry for your loss :( My father passed suddenly when my kids were 3 and 4. They are surprisingly literal at that age, so we chose to not "sugar coat" it and use basic but true language. "Grandpa was very old. His body stopped working and that means he is dead. We won't see him again and that makes us feel sad." We're not religious, so my go-to comfort phra... More

  • Anonymous
    Jan 23

    My parents died 18 months apart. Since they were the youngest children in their families, many family members died when my boys were very tiny. I was very up-front with what had happened to their great-aunts and uncles; I thought they understood. The boys were in pre-school when one of my uncles, with whom they were very close, died after a 25 year battle with cancer. We were taking my Mom ... More

Anonymous posted in Divorce & Separation Jan 20

In-laws divorcing

I just found out that my in-laws are getting a divorce. No clue what is prompting this. They've been married for nearly 40 years, they are in their 60's and their kids are all in their 30's. They live across the country and we usually see them a couple times a year. We actually just saw them 3 weeks ago and they mentioned a vacation planned for Feb so part of me thinks they came to ... More

  • Sara
    Jan 23

    Depends on the relationship I think between your in-laws and husband to know if this is going to create more work or emotional involvement for him. If he has siblings it’s possible they could be the ones to shoulder that if it happens instead. As far as positives, I have a different situation but my father in law passed away a couple years ago leaving my mother in law alone. It has allowed my m... More

  • Teddy
    Jan 23

    Ugh. Buckle up. It will be trying. It hurts and it makes things “awkward” and tough to always know what the right thing to do is. My husbands parents separated right before we got pregnant with our first child. They were married for 25 years and together nearly 30. It’s been... 6 or so years. New partners on both sides has been... less than fun at times (setting boundaries about not letting our... More

Anonymous posted in Pets Jan 19

Scared of cats!

My 4yr old daughter has always loved cats. She was chased by a large growling cat at a friends house. I was in the same room when it happened. All my daughter was doing was sitting on the living room floor watching tv. Then the cat came running straight at her growling. She got up ran to the couch while this cat continued to chase her until I ended it. Now she is terrified of all cats. Any i... More

  • Amanda
    Jan 19

    This happened to me as a child, but with a dog. I was attacked & bitten by a neighbor’s dog as a toddler and subsequently developed an intense fear of dogs through early elementary school. As I recall, my mother spoke to my pediatrician and was given some exercises to do with me at home to help me understand the trauma of being attacked and how to overcome it. I can’t speak to your daughter... More

  • Anonymous
    Jan 19

    Thank you Amanda

Sara posted in Education Jan 19

What milestones did your child hit right before entering kindergarten?

My daughter turns 5 over the summer so she’s eligible to start kindergarten in the fall. I’m now curious whether she might benefit from another year of preschool instead. What could your child do right before they entered K? Read and write? Just recognize letters and write only a few words? Would be helpful to also hear from other summer birthday parents.

  • Anne
    Jan 22

    Our kids go to a private school with very small classes, so YMMV, but I've felt like the kindergarten experience has been appropriate for my 5yo. In terms of readiness, it was mostly basics like: can use the bathroom independently, can sit for 10-15 minutes and listen to a story, can relate the story back to you (listening comprehension) and can write their own name. There is no expectati... More

  • Anonymous
    Jan 22

    If you are in Instagram look up @busytoddler, she used to be a kindergarten teacher, is based on the west coast and is posting right now about her decision to delay kindergarten for her oldest, the benefits, what is and expected in a lot of public school kindergartens, and even some evidence based articles about when to start a child in school.

Load More