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.

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