As parents we all know the frustration of trying to get our children to listen to us and then find ourselves repeating the same thing over and over again until we're out of patience. The goal is always to instruct our children in a positive way, but some days it's just tough! We get it — we are parents too, and we've found a few key strategies that have been critical in helping us redirect our children in a positive way, while maintaining our patience and our sanity!
1. Change Focus: You've probably experienced that a child's attention can switch at a moments notice. Use this to your advantage! When your little one gets into something that they shouldn't or is getting upset because they want a toy that a friend is already playing with, avoid the soon to be meltdown and offer another option. Get down on their level, grab their attention and suggest, "Molly is reading that book right now, let's read this one about dinosaurs, they are your favorite!"
2. Make it Fun: Instead of fighting the tide, find a way to make it fun for your child to follow directions. For example, you need your child to go upstairs and get ready for bed. Try the old game, "Last one upstairs is a rotten egg!" Suddenly, you'll find your little one in a race to beat you upstairs and instead of a stressful time, you've created a fun transition to bedtime!
3. Positive Reinforcement: Find praiseworthy moments to tell your child what they are doing right. All children crave their parents attention, by telling them that you are proud of them and that they are doing something well, you will reinforce positive behavior.
4. Show Your Feelings: We all have bad days. In fact, for most of us, it's pretty difficult to go through an entire day without making a mistake, so why do we expect anything different from our children? It's OK to tell your child when you are having a bad day and need a break. Even telling them, "I"m getting upset because I'm on the phone and there is too much noise," can go a long way toward establishing positive behavior and allowing your child to feel comfortable expressing his or her feelings.
5. Say No Without Saying "No": It's so easy to use that two letter word that takes on a new meaning as our children grow up. At Romp n' Roll, we use a number of alternatives to redirect behavior without saying "No". One way to handle this is to tell your child, "Let's play over here where all of your friends are having fun!" or "Oh my goodness! There's a tickle monster in Romp's Playhouse — let's go find him!" The point is, you can get your child's attention and get them excited to move on when you need them to without using the dreaded "No".
Parenting is hard, we get it. However, when you use these helpful tips you can absolutely make progress with your child in improving their behavior and reinforcing and promoting positive behavior!