"Give your children regular doses of Vitamin "N," as in "No." "

Preschool (4-5 years)

John's Most Recent Articles

Cure for Kid Who Hits

Posted 2 days ago

A 4-year-old – I’ll call him Popeye – had a habit of hitting other children in his preschool program. His teachers tried various approaches, including rewarding him with a treat on days when he...

Read More

Taking Back Control From Child’s Tantrums

Posted on 7/27/2021

Q: Our four-year-old, an only child, is giving us fits. As a toddler, he began ignoring us. That evolved into downright refusing to do what we ask, as in, “I’m not going to” and just plain “No.”...

Read More

The Biggest Problem Teachers Face Is Parents

Posted on 7/13/2021

When I ask a teacher, “What is the biggest problem you face?” the answer – there has never been an exception – is “parents.” That is certainly a recent phenomenon. My parents were...

Read More

How To Ensure Your Children Sleep on Their Own

Posted on 5/12/2021

Q: I’m a working single mom with a 4-year-old daughter who won’t go to sleep unless I lie down with her. Plus, if she wakes up in the middle of the night to find I’m no longer in her bed, she...

Read More

What's up With Tantrums at Age 5?

Posted on 3/16/2021

Q: My 5-year-old continues to throw tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. His father and I are divorced. I have primary custody. He is with his dad every other weekend, basically. My ex- has very...

Read More

Why Isn't Your Child Sleeping in Her Own Bed?

Posted on 2/2/2021

Q: In a recent column, you described our five-year-old daughter. She is in bed at 6:30 in the evening but usually wakes up during the night and wants to talk to us about whatever is on her mind....

Read More

Advice for Preschool Teachers

Posted on 1/5/2021

Q: I teach 3- and 4-year-olds in a childcare center in Australia. I always have a few difficult children in any group and the book in which you describe Alpha Speech [The Well-Behaved Child] has...

Read More

Helping a Child Worried About Death

Posted on 8/18/2020

Q: We have a five-year-old who obsesses about dying. This has been going on for six months, ever since a child in the neighborhood died of a congenital genetic condition. Our son knew the boy and...

Read More

A Proven Solution to 5-Year-Old’s Eating ‘Issues’

Posted on 3/12/2019

Q: My 5-year-old has had eating issues since he was an infant. When I introduced solid food at six months, he began rejecting most vegetables. His feeding problems have worsened since then to the...

Read More

The Great Pre-K Debate

Posted on 8/28/2018

It has long been known, but only spoken of in hushed tones by university professors sitting in darkened rooms wearing Fat Elvis masks, that pre-Kindergarten “jump-start” (aka, “push-down”)...

Read More
View All Articles

Recent Questions

Time to Drop Back and Reboot with 4 Year Old

Posted 2 weeks ago

I started the ticket chart with my then 4 year old son back in May for his disobedience. I have since added other behaviors like name calling, stomping his feet when mad and arguing with me. It...

Read More

Peer Relationships Require Support

Posted 3 weeks ago

My oldest son is 4.5 and by nature is an introvert most of the time. He is shy to start with and then you can't stop him talking thereafter. I wonder if I've made a mistake by encouraging him to...

Read More

4 year old terrorist wearing out her family

Posted on 9/23/2021

Our 4 year old daughter has become a complete terrorist. She has always been difficult and challenging but it’s only getting worse by the day. We have always been strict parents and have...

Read More

Define "Disciplined"

Posted on 9/23/2021

Whenever we have friends or family over or we’re at an event with other kids our 4 year old daughter very rarely engages in playing with the children and constantly wants to be where the adults...

Read More

The Doctor Can Help!

Posted on 9/1/2021

Our middle child, a 5 year old boy, has intense emotions. We have (re)started the ticket system with him and his older brother, and he consistently loses tickets after school in the car. We have...

Read More

"Anything for Attention and The Most Annoying Thing Ever"

Posted on 8/11/2021

I have a seven year old boy who is a copycat. There are adults around him who clear their throat, so now he is clearing his throat. It has become a habit and when he gets mad, he exaggerates it...

Read More

Smelly kid

Posted on 7/27/2021

My four year old daughter has been potty trained for a few years now but she constantly either forgets to wipe or doesn’t do it well enough despite all my efforts. She smells like pee almost...

Read More

Things You Can't Change

Posted on 7/25/2021

One of the moms in our play date group does not believe in disciplining her children. Her 4 year old son has meltdowns, takes toys from other children, and BITES when he doesn’t get his way. When...

Read More

A Bad Day at The Zoo or Sensory Processing Disorder?

Posted on 7/3/2021

My 4 year old son has been seeing an occupational therapist to help with his behavioral issues. She suggested that my son has a sensory processing disorder to explain why he will listen to...

Read More

Tickets, Strikes and Keeping the Peace

Posted on 6/22/2021

I’ve attempted using the ticket system, but I’m getting confused. I have a 4 yr old and 7yr old. They fight, and argue about EVERYTHING. I put 3 tickets on the fridge- no tattling, no disturbing...

Read More
View All Questions