As the expression goes, children learn what they live. Parents have many opportunities with each new day to set the bar high and teach by example. Reinforce best efforts, inspire your child to be thoughtful, and offer learning experiences that result in responsible behavior.
As the expression goes, children learn what they live.
Parents have many opportunities with each new day to set the bar high and teach by example. Reinforce best efforts, inspire your child to be thoughtful, and offer learning experiences that result in responsible behavior.
Develop house rules, explain them and post them. Toddlers through teens can understand and comply with house rules, which are easier to follow when they are posted. Begin with several concrete rules, such as “Hang up your coat” or “Complete homework before TV.” Younger children become invested when photos are posted of them completing or following each rule.
Be consistent with reminders, ignore whining and complaining and be generous with recognition when rules are followed.
Teach your child to be responsible by showing her how to complete household tasks. Simple tasks include unloading the dishwasher, folding towels or matching socks.
Tweens and teens can be responsible for taking the garbage receptacle to and from the curb. Young children can learn to set the table using a place mat model. Each of these tasks can be easily learned and successfully completed with supervision.
Children who participate with daily chores learn structure and multi-step processing. Those who are given responsibilities become more responsible for their own belongings. Nurture independence and a sense of pride by helping your child organize his belongings, so he can keep them that way. Eliminate cleanup negotiations by setting a time limit and offering help.
A schedule board can help your child follow the day’s activities while teaching sequencing and time management. When a rhythmic routine is developed and patterning becomes a natural part of their day, children often display fewer misbehaviors because they learn what to expect and what is expected of them.
For involved morning and evening routines, fill a personalized photo schedule book with pictures of your child as he moves through his exact routine. He will become invested in his routine as he follows each step with a photo of himself. For weekly or long-term routines purchase a calendar for your child’s room. Help him identify specific days for spelling tests, soccer games, and other upcoming events. Encourage planning, preparation and packing items needed for each day.
Reinforce listening and time-management skills by using a timer. At any age, if you find yourself repeating yourself over and over again, a timer will be an effective tool when it is included throughout your routine. It can be especially helpful for children who have difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next. Show your toddler or teen your new timer, and explain your new expectations. Then be sure to recognize your child’s timely responses.
Use an effective reward system that encourages your toddler or teen to do the right thing, or get the job done. Reward all attempts, achievements and acts of kindness. Reward an older sibling who helps a younger one.
Page 2 of 2 - Parents can get caught up and “circle the drain” with criticism, corrections and negative comments. Some parents ask, “Why should I reward him for the things he knows he is supposed to do?” For those who are uncomfortable offering positive recognition or praise, simply say what you see, such as “I see that you hung up your coat.”
Let your child know that you are watching, and that you care.
Diana Boggia, M.Ed., is a parenting coach. She is author of “Parenting with a Purpose.” Send your child-rearing questions to FamilyMatters@cantonrep.com or The Repository, c/o Family Matters, 500 Market Ave. S, Canton, OH 44702. Find parenting resources at her website, www.yourperfectchild.com.