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Zero to Five

Tracy Cutchlow is the author of Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science. Parents magazine called it "the coolest--and easiest--book for new parents." Tracy was the editor of two bestselling books: Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Baby. Sign up for her weekly parenting tips at www.zerotofive.net.

"Should I hold my son back from kindergarten?" a mom asked me. Her child was at a play-based preschool, and she was worried that he wasn't ready for kindergarten because he didn't know his letters and numbers. Play-based preschools, I assured her, are the big trend for an important reason: Play is how children learn.
My preschooler came out of her room and stomped once. I carried her back to bed. As I turned to leave, she called out: “When we were camping, C wanted to be alone and I kept at him, and he hurt me. He hit me first. I hit him second. Next time we go camping, I’m going to hurt C.” “Then I’m afraid we can’t go camping with C,” I said gently, hoping she would see the error in her ways (but not see I was making that up). “We go camping to have fun, not to hurt people.”
My preschooler came out of her room and stomped once. I carried her back to bed. As I turned to leave, she called out: “When we were camping, C wanted to be alone and I kept at him, and he hurt me. He hit me first. I hit him second. Next time we go camping, I'm going to hurt C.” “Then I'm afraid we can't go camping with C,” I said gently, hoping she would see the error in her ways (but not see I was making that up). “We go camping to have fun, not to hurt people.”
“Time for bed,” my husband says. He’s not talking to our 3-year-old. He’s talking to me, because I’ve been going to bed waaaay too late, and I’ve asked him to help me out. Even so, whenever he tells me what to do, I balk. “OK,” I say noncommittally, and I stay up even later. Think about the last time someone pressured you to do something. What was your gut reaction? How about the last time you told your 3-year-old what to do? Did she do the opposite of what you wanted? Mine did.
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