Preschoolers: What We Wish We’d Known Then

1. Spend more time on the carpet.

“I wish I had spent more time just playing with my kids. Older women told me to relax and savor every minute, because they grow up in the blink of an eye. I didn’t know how to take in their wisdom.”

-Suzy Hilbrant, Winnetka

2. Take time for yourself.
“Last year, I spent all my time getting things done—like painting my house and organizing my closets. Big mistake. Because this year I returned to work, and I still haven’t taken time for myself.”

-Cie Bond, Evanston

3. Don’t worry too much about potty-training.
“I wish I had known that you could send your kids to school without being potty-trained because I had twins and it was a nightmare.”

-Bev Pinaire, Wilmette

5. Bigger isn’t better for a family home.
“Children are happiest in close proximity to their siblings and parents. We lived in a tiny 2-bedroom apartment with 5 kids while we added a large addition to our home.

“Sounds like torture, right? Not for our kids. For years after we returned to the home to a kitchen larger than the entire apartment, our children asked to return to that rental.

“And it didn’t take me long to regret that I couldn’t hear kids in ourhome, even when it was a
large group. This mother hen liked keeping her chicks close under her wing.”

-Susan B. Noyes, Wilmette

6. Don’t over-program your child.
“I now see kids under the age of 2 who are enrolled in more classes than my own children in college! Let kids have more time to just be themselves. They will become more inventive that way. And spend more time reading with them.”

-Pediatrician Dr. Richard Weinstein, Northbrook

5. It’s OK to let your daughter wear the same ballerina costume to school every day for a year.

-Mindy Fauntleroy, Wilmette

6. Don’t sweat the pacifier or the thumb sucking.

-Sandra Miller, Evanston

7. Don’t assume that your kids will only eat kid food.
“Expose them to different ethnic foods. Take them to restaurants. Introduce new fruits and vegetables because studies show that it takes up to 10 times to entice them to change their minds.

“Involve them in the process. Take them to the market. Let them help cook—even if it’s just stirring the pot.”

8. Read books that you loved from your childhood with them.
“It creates an extra bond. We enjoyed reading ‘Harry Potter,’ but we LOVED reading ‘Little House on the Prairie’ more.”

– Laura Hine, Wilmette

9. Slow down, look your children in the eye and let them finish their sentences.

– Julie Carter, Lake Forest

10. It’s not the terrible 2s, it’s the 3s.

-Amy Tuchler, Northbrook

11. I should have bought stock in Kraft with the amount of mac ‘n cheese that my kids eat!

-Kelly Conrad, Glenview

12. I should have asked myself more often: Will this matter in 5 minutes or 5 years?
“If your kids go to bed with a smile on their face, does it really matter if there’s crayon on the wall and applesauce on the carpet?”

-Kelly Conrad again, still Glenview