General Parenting Tips Series #3

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

25) Read affirming stories about parental love. A child who fears abandonment will benefit greatly from the steadfast messages of parental love in books like Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, or On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier. Read them frequently with your active alert child.

26) Build confidence in your child by helping him to practice small portions of tasks.

27) Make interruptions less of a problem by preventing them and teaching your child how to wait his turn. Set a timer. Tell your preschooler that you will help him when the bell rings. Set the timer for three minutes. When the timer goes off, stop what you are doing immediately and pay the child some attention.

28) Prevent interruptions. If you have important calls to make, a deadline on a project, or just really need to get dinner on the table on time one night, plan ahead. Make the calls during naptime. Put a well-loved video on the TV. Get a sitter to watch the children while you work in another room.

29) Teach waiting your turn. Instead of waiting for her turn with a toy, she's waiting for a turn to speak. Practice this with her at home. When she interrupts, raise your hand in the "stop" position and say gently, "I'm not finished talking. Please wait your turn." Then make an effort to quickly finish what you were saying and turn your attention to your child. "Now it's your turn to talk."

30) Choose to see the quality of stubbornness as it really is: persistence in training. Help your child learn to govern and control this valuable trait by setting reasonable limits and then enforcing them. Set reasonable rules and limits for this child and then sticking to them, consistently and firmly.

31) It is futile to try to control or change a child's thoughts, emotions, or temperament. Instead, use guidance tools to help set limits on behavior or teach new skills, if needed. Don't give a negative attitude a lot of attention or you'll see it more often. Although you can't control your child's attitude, you can set limits on behavior. For example, "Setting the table is your job. You don't have to be happy about it, but you do have to do it."

32) If you take it upon yourself to change your child's innate personality, the likelihood is great you'll magnify, rather than diminish, those personality characteristics. Pushed to change, the persistent child becomes more persistent, the intense child more intense, the active child, more active. Only through acceptance and working with the child's true personality can some of the more difficult traits smooth out.

33) High energy parent + Low energy child. To you, your child seems lazy. She tires quickly and doesn't like sports. First of all, don't expect her to excel at athletics. Respect her slower pace. Find ways to be together that accommodate both your styles--you could jog around the sandbox she's playing in, or push her in a jogger's stroller.

34) Low energy parent + High energy child. Think of a time when you really needed to get to the bathroom. That's the kind of "demand to move" your child feels. Remind yourself that your child needs to move and be active as much as you need to rest and do quiet activities. Designate a place in your house for active play: bouncy horse, cushions to jump on, ride-on toys. Find safe, fenced playgrounds for your child to play in.

35) Cautious parent + High-approach child. This is a hard combination. You feel frightened by your child's adventurous initiative, and he feels imprisoned by your caution. Talk with experienced parents about your child's adventurous activities and develop a realistic gauge of what's appropriate. When you feel anxious, practice imagining your child surrounded by a circle of protective golden light. This self-talk will keep you calmer.

36) High-approach parent + Cautious child. When you are naturally adventuresome, it's hard to be sensitive with a cautious child. Put yourself in his shoes--going to the beach for the first time feels to him like going to Mars would to you. Let him proceed at his own pace. He's more likely to be courageous if he knows you are sympathetic and supportive.

General Parenting Tips Series

Monday, August 9, 2010

1) Create a bedroom environment that is conducive to sleep, i.e. remove electronics from her bedroom, keep the bedroom cool and dark, make the toys inaccessible at bedtime, and keep it simple: bedding and one security item (a stuffed animal or favorite blanket).

2) Develop a bedtime routine that involves quiet activities that occur in the same order every night. For example, have a snack, put pajamas on, brush teeth, go to the bathroom, say prayers, and read one book.

3) Put your child to bed when she is still awake. Children learn how to fall asleep through practice. If you always rock your child to sleep, she will rely on rocking whenever she wakes during the night and needs to go back to sleep

4) If your child gets out of bed, transform into a robot-like version of mom or dad and immediately return her to bed.

5) When your child gets out of bed, return your escapee to her own bed every single time that she attempts an escape.

6) Reward your child for going to and remaining in bed.

7) When your kids use social skills appropriately or make an attempt to use them, you can reward and reinforce their efforts through Effective Praise. In other words, you pick the teaching technique that best fits the situation you’re in with your kids. This enables you to teach children how, why, and where they should use these skills.

8) Take time to explain to your children when they can use social skills and give positive child-oriented reasons for how and why these social skills will help them in life.

9) Praise your children or reward them with something special for taking the time to learn appropriate social skills, such as saying “excuse me”.

10) After your children learn a new skill, it may take awhile before they are comfortable using it and before it really becomes a part of them, so be patient, patient, patient!

11) The better your overall relationship with your child, the more influence you will have in his or her life and the easier it will be to teach new skills. Developing this relationship is about expressing your love in various ways beneficial to the child.

12) Tell your child you love her. It's simple to do, but many of us forget. Say, "I love you," or "I'm glad you're my son/daughter." Do it routinely in certain parts of the day, at bedtime, when he sits on the potty chair, or when she does her homework.

13) Communicate love through gentle touch. Hold your child on your lap as you read to him. Cuddle her when she's sad. Rub his back. Stroke her hair. Touch communicates love without a word.

14) Let your child overhear you express pride in her achievements and activities to others. If someone else compliments your child, repeat it to him.

15) Participate in your child's interests or hobbies. Go to their dance recitals, spelling bees, and sports games. If he's passionate about dinosaurs, take him to the local museum and look at fossils together. When you support your children's interests, you're telling them they are important to you.

16) Respond when your child initiates a conversation. Make eye contact and ask questions that will elicit further communication. Your reply ought to communicate, "I heard what you said, I'm interested, and I want to know more."

17) Consistent routines bring predictability and comfort to your child’s world. Rely on routines. When a child knows the sequence of a daily routine, he or she will cope better with the regular transitions and occasional changes.

18) Increasing a child’s verbal skills almost always helps with curbing hitting. Sometimes young children with intense temperaments are very bothered when others crowd in on them. A child age three or older can learn to hold her arms out straight and say, “Stop. This is my space right now.”

19) When your child hits another, it’s important to firmly and calmly separate the two children. Have your child sit close by while you tend to the hurt friend. When they are both calmer, have your child figure out something to do to help his friend feel better.

20) Practice using words with your child in a role-playing way. Pretend to be mad, but instead of hitting, say, “I’m mad!” or “Stop! You’re too close.” Then have your child practice this skill. When you hear your child using these words in a conflict situation notice and praise him (even if he did follow it up with a kick).

21) Teach your child something she can do with her body when she is angry. She can’t hit, kick, or bite—but perhaps she can go to her room and stamp her feet.

22) Understanding your child’s temperament enhances your efforts to ease fearfulness.

23) Prepare your child for change. Tell your child about changes you know are forthcoming. Describe for her as much as you can. Help her anticipate the next day by discussing it the night before and allow her a chance to verbally role play the new situation.

24) Be clear about what choices your child has. When your child goes to the dentist, he doesn’t have a choice about whether or not he’s going to get his teeth cleaned. He may be able to choose, however, whether or not he has a parent in the room with him. Having some sort of control in the new situation will help your child cope with his fear.