Six Tips for Parents
Parents, dealing with your little one’s behavior can be challenging at times. Other times, let’s face it, it’s just downright aggravating. Every child is different and as they grow you’ll learn what works for them, but here are a few tips for parents to remember about kids regarding behaviors and consequences.
1) Try to determine the reason behind the behavior
Every behavior is about trying to get some need met. It may be that they’re hungry, tired or need some socialization. Young children often aren’t able to recognize their need in order to get it met in a constructive way. It’s our job to try and find out the need so we can teach them better ways to get those needs met in the future.
2) You can’t do time-out if you haven’t done time-in
Silly, yes, but also true. Kids are like ATM’s. If you want to make a withdrawal (discipline), you have to make sure you’re making enough deposits (quality time and praise).
3) Explain, explain, explain! You’re dealing with developing brains
The human brain isn’t finished developing until about age 25! That means our little ones have a long way to go. Not only do they need clear explanations of rules, consequences and the right thing to do, but they need those things repeated to them often. They may remember the rule, but thinking through the consequences is probably not something their brain has gotten to yet.
If it’s a rule today it should be a rule tomorrow. Kids need consistency in their lives. Not only does this help them to know what’s expected of them but it also helps them to have a sense of security. When things are constantly changing it can be a scary world.
5) Every feeling is acceptable and should be honored, but not every behavior is
You may want to teach them to stop a certain behavior but that doesn’t mean that your child’s feelings aren’t valid. We all need to know that it’s okay to have our feelings. Sadness, anger, frustration, joy. This can be as simple as saying “you may not have a cookie right now because we’re going to eat dinner. I see that makes you sad and it’s okay to feel sad, but we have to eat dinner before we have cookies.”
Notice good behavior and make a big deal out of it! We do it when they’re learning to walk and talk but somehow as they get older we tend to do less and less of it. Kids need it just like babies do. It encourages them to keep trying. The day is filled with opportunities for praise. When they put their dishes in the sink, make their bed, brush their teeth on their own, share a toy, etc. Make it a challenge to yourself to find the good they do and the good in them and when you see it point it out!