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.

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