"If; when your child does something "bad," you feel bad about it, your child won't. "

Preschool (4-5 years)

John's Most Recent Articles

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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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”)...

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Use Patient Guidance With Son Who Prefers Solitary Play

Posted on 6/7/2017

Q: Our 4-year-old prefers solitary play over play with other children. It’s been this way from early on when I began arranging play dates for him. When those really didn’t work, I enrolled him in...

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Comfort, Not Counseling, Is the Treatment for Nightmares

Posted on 12/21/2016

Q: Our 5-year-old has suddenly started waking up with nightmares. He's not able to describe them with any clarity, however, so we don't know what the content of them is. The most he's able to...

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Use Godfather Principle to Nip Fear of Doctor in the Bud

Posted on 9/20/2016

Q: Over the past year or so, our 5-year-old has developed an extreme fear of going to the doctor or dentist. This came on suddenly, without a precipitating incident. The crying begins when we...

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Selecting the Right Private School

Posted on 8/16/2016

Q: We are looking for a private school for our 4-year-old. Regardless of the school we ultimately choose, we want to keep him there through eighth grade at least. We live in an suburban area so...

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Recent Questions

Alpha Speech Payoff!

Posted 1 week ago

Not a question today but a praise report! Today at the park, in alpha speech, I told my son we would be leaving in 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes were up, I said “we are leaving”, my son...

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Mom Wants to Put a Lid on Potty Talk

Posted 1 week ago

My 5 year old son has frequently been using the following words out of context: butt, fart, toot, booger etc. He gets on these trash talking rants. He’s laughing and joking most of the time....

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Parent Worried About Autism

Posted 1 week ago

4-year old, dad not involved since his birth. 8 months ago my child saw a video about pregnant ladies and since then he pretends to be pregnant. he knows he is a boy and that cannot happen but...

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4 Y/O Won't Greet People Kindly

Posted 2 weeks ago

My 4 year old son does not greet people. He gives them a scowl or growls at them. He sometimes hides behind me. I’ve told him so many times that he can’t make mean faces at people. It takes him...

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Keep it Simple!

Posted on 3/10/2021

We have been doing the 6 block chart system with our 4 year old. We did the ticket system prior to this. He loses privileges on blocks 3 (LEGOs), 4 (Hot Wheels), and 5 (TV). He goes to his room on...

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Public Nuisance

Posted on 3/7/2021

Hi! My daughter will be five in May. Her attention-seeking behavior when she's escalating are easy to deal with at home. We don't feed into it. However, when we're in public, it's a challenge....

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Home/School Divide

Posted on 3/4/2021

We are in the early stages of implementing John's Discipline strategies. So far, I definitely see improvement in our children's behavior, respect of our authority and each other. We have four...

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Meltdowns, Scratches, and Wrestling Matches: Dealing With the Brothers 3

Posted on 3/1/2021

Over the past year, we have spent more time together as a family at home. While some of this has been good, we have also seen conflict between our oldest boys, ages 4 and 6, increase. Sometimes...

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Encouraging Resourcefulness

Posted on 2/26/2021

My husband thinks I need to provide more structure for our 2, 4 and 6 year old. This has risen out of increasing complaints about boredom, fighting between the kids and increasing misbehavior...

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How To Deal With Constant Complaining

Posted on 2/26/2021

I have seen a rise in grumbling, complaining, arguing (with each other and with us) from our older boys, ages 4 and 6. I submitted a separate question about the conflict between the boys, but...

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