5 Tips from Your Amazing Preschooler by Deb Ellsworth

Parenting Tips and Tools from St. David’s Center

Do you wonder how preschool teachers get 18 children from their classrooms to the playground, when you struggle to get your one child out the door in the morning? St. David's Center teacher Deb Ellsworth's new book answers your questions and offers tips, tricks, and tools to bring out the best in your amazing preschooler. Here are some highlights!

"Remember to appreciate your amazing preschooler, amidst all the hectic-ness of everyday living. Cherish each amazing moment, and share with your child the joy of discovery of the whole world, and the thrill of increasing competence and mastery."

1. Focus on the positive!

  • Remember: 90% of what teachers or parents say to children should be positive, conversational, and relationship-building, instead of directions or corrections.
  • Help children build on their strengths. Meet them on their level.
  • Rather than trying to correct problems, try to understand and work with the child -- not against them.

2. Use "teacher tools."

  • Puppets
  • Songs, rhythms, and sounds 
  • Sign language
  • Pictures illustrating feelings, activities, jobs, transitions


Tough transitions? Come up with a song to sing during specific transitions or times of the day.

3. Encourage emotional competence.

  • Name it -- identify emotion 
  • Claim it -- express emotion (model this for your child!)
  • Tame it -- manage emotion 
  • If your child is angry, try these activities:
    • Slow, deep breathing
    • Holding their hands while they jump up and down
    • Pressing hard against a wall
    • Using muscle relaxation and deep pressure
    • Counting
    • Going for a walk

4. Encourage behavioral independence.

  • Eating, dressing, conflict resolution, clean up -- find ways for your child to accomplish these tasks on their own.
  • Give your child jobs -- spray and wipe down the table, sort and put away silverware, etc.

5. Foster creativity!

  • Provide your child lots of opportunities to play pretend.
  • Creative play may just seem like fun, but it actually enhances life-skills in the following developmental areas:
    • Social
    • Emotional
    • Cognitive
    • Physical
    • Problem-solving

Remember, children learn through...

  • Play
  • Imitation
  • Observation
  • Action

YAP Cover




"Children of this age are driven to learn, grow, and become more competent in all areas of development. They are hard-wired to construct their own understanding of language, emotions, social relations, what their bodies can do, and everything else in the world." 

Want to learn more? Buy the book here.




Concerned about your child's development or looking for more resources?

Contact CORE at 952.548.8700 or coreinfo@stdavidscenter.org.

Visit Preschool


Information on this site is provided for informational and educational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.  

Site developed by Creed Interactive - Minneapolis Web Design | Photography by Josh Hackney Photography; James Schwartz, SchwartzPictures; and Leslie Kellum Photography.