Ah, preschoolers. They have all the drama of a teenager in the body of a three-year-old. Maybe that’s why they’re referred to, lovingly, as threenagers.

In our house, my wife and I feel like we are experts on preschoolers, with a five and three-year-old running amok. And there are many battles that we have with them on a daily – or hourly – basis. Many times they feel as if they make the rules, as they are beginning to assert their independence and test our boundaries. However, they don’t make the rules, and they need to be reminded of that. Often.

While we’ve won – and lost – our share of battles with our preschoolers, I think we can all agree that there are some battles that simply are not worth fighting. The trick is to know which ones. And that knowledge is usually acquired after the battles are fought and decided.

Here are a few battles that you might want to consider avoiding:


We live in Florida. News flash – it’s hot here almost all year round. But for some reason, our three-year-old demands to wear long-sleeved shirts every day. For a while, we fought him on it. Then, we didn’t and the Earth has continued to spin on its axis. My point is, in most cases, it’s okay to let your child wear what he wants unless, of course, it’s a safety issue or something like that.


Okay, you cannot let your child leave the home with hair that looks like it has never been combed. But let’s face it, on the list of things to worry about, a perfectly coifed head of hair is pretty far down on the list.

Toys On the Go

Our kids like to take toys every place we go. We used to resist because occasionally a toy would get lost and that was (very nearly) the end of life as we knew it. But we’ve gotten more relaxed. If it makes the kids quieter during a car ride or gives them something to do while we’re shopping, so be it. The only downside is that we have to keep a close eye on them and their favorite toy, so both make it back home safe and sound.


Our three-year-old asks for waffles for breakfast every morning. Every. Single. Morning. We used to try and pressure him into eating something else, but it never worked and when we eventually gave in, it looked like we caved. The result: We should have bought stock in Eggo’s. But there are bigger battles to fight. Even if his meal is the same, at least we know he’s eating and we can supplement his waffle binge with fresh fruit or a cup of yogurt, so there is something healthy going on. If your child is a slave to the same meal day after day, don’t sweat it. Continue to offer her something different to eat and try to add a twist on her persistent meal that might add a healthy element to it.

There are also battles that are worth fighting.


Your preschooler will do everything in their power to avoid naps. A nap to a preschooler is like kryptonite to Superman. But, stay strong parents. Naps are your salvation. Not only does nap time recharge your little one's batteries, it is your oasis in a sea of chaos.


If you set your preschooler in front of the television and left them alone, you’d find them in the same exact spot eight hours later. Set boundaries on TV viewing – or any screen time for that matter – and stick to them.


Children need to learn structure and they need to learn that they are responsible for their toys and for cleaning up after themselves. If you give your preschooler some simple chores – clean up their plate after a meal or feeding the cat – demand that they follow through. And if they don’t, make sure there are consequences.


Your preschooler will see you coming with a toothbrush and will immediately flee in the other direction. But tooth brushing, bathing, and general hygiene is a battle that you must fight with your little one. If they learn at an early age that they can avoid those things, they will continue to do it and you will have a much bigger problem on your hands.