Here's a few lessons I've learned about parenting, and some tips that I've proven work with my own kids. So I hope these help anyone with young children because it's hard as fuck to be a parent and I know I'm always looking for all the help and tips I can find to make it just a little easier. I get that most of this is common sense, but still sometimes it's good to be reminded...
- Kids live up to your expectations of them 100% of the time. So raise the bar. Even infants can understand what your saying when you talk to them and can tell the difference between right and wrong just based on your tone of voice. Expect that your kids should and will obey you, and they will. This is really the Law of Attraction at work. What you expect, becomes your result.
- Kids respond better to praise than to punishment. If your encouraging the behavior that you want them to exhibit and praise them every time they follow your instructions you will see them doing it more and more often. This works with babies even, but especially toddlers respond to this almost instantly. Make a big deal out of every time they obey and you'll create a brand new dynamic in your family overnight.
- Consistency is KING. If your not consistent as a parent you can just throw in the towel and plan on following your kids around like a chicken with your head cut off. You have got to follow through on EVERY threat to discipline. If you don't your credibility is gone and the discipline is useless. Same goes for positive reinforcement, be consistent.
- Tough love WORKS. If you've never tried the tough love method (letting your kid cry it's self to sleep, put it's self to sleep, rather then you rocking or sleeping with your kid) to parenting because you thought it was too harsh, get over it! It works. Period. The results are quick and lasting, and trust me it doesn't mean you don't love your kid. Your kid will not hate you (though they may say so at the time) and it doesn't mean your a bad parent. It means your a parent who wants the best for their kid even when the kid doesn't agree. It means YOUR the adult and they are your responsibility and that your insuring they get the sleep, food, discipline they need. The first three days might be total murder if your trying to get your child to go to sleep on it's own or sleep through the night on it's own (or get used to discipline ect) but if your consistent, and follow the rules, each night will get progressively better. And before you know it both of you will be living in a new and peaceful world. Rules: put them to bed with your normal routine (song, story, prayer) tell them they are going to sleep in their room alone now, turn on soothing music, then leave the room leaving the door open a few inches. No matter what happens or how long it takes, stick to the plan. If they get up, put them back without a word. Don't talk to them at all, just put them back to bed. Let it run the course, eventually they will give in and fall asleep and you will be on your way to an easy to use routine that you can use even when you travel.
- Words matter. All the little things we say to our kids make an impression bigger than we can even imagine. Our words are telling them who them are, what their capable of, and what we think of them. All those things turn into who they actually become, and is the first reel that plays on loop in their head telling them who they are. Make sure it's a good one. Example: telling your child they are naughty, sends the message that they are a bad person and that doing good actions wont change that sentence. Instead tell them the behavior is naughty and unexceptionable and that you know they can do better because they are a good boy/girl. This teaches them that they can control their actions and change negative behavior. Your words can either build confidence and faith in your child or tear them down. So watch closely what you say to them.
- Schedules will save your ass! I'm not a terribly disciplined person, I'm often scatter-brained and ADD, so following a schedule seemed like something I just couldn't execute on. But I quickly learned when my twins were born that it was the only way to keep me from going totally insane. Oddly enough the schedule is not only for your own sanity it's something your kids crave and NEED. It gives them peace and structure. It makes them feel safe, especially if their environment changes at all. Knowing what is going to happen next makes them feel empowered and allows them to trust you even more. Putting routines in place around meal times, the hour before bedtime (like bath, then a quiet movie or story) then bed lets them know what to expect and helps them enjoy each stage rather then constantly fighting you on everything. It will only take a few days to put in place, but stick to it even when it's hard and before you know it, you will all be getting along so much better!
- Turn the TV OFF! TV noise in the background of your house adds the sense of angst and ciaos. Do this little experiment if you don't believe me... on a noisy annoying day when everyone in the house is melting down including you, turn all the TV's off an put on spa or piano music (I love Jim Brickman), at a mid-volume and just sit back and watch what starts to happen with you and your kids... it's MAGIC. Keep the music on at all times in your house accept for times when you are deliberately sitting down to watch TV together. You'll notice everyone calms down and remains calm. Also do this in the car... magic, I'm telling you, it's saved my life I'm quite sure!
- Get on their level. This is so important, especially when your instructing or reprimanding your child, get down so you are at eye level with them. Hold their hands or arms and have them look at you when you talk, be calm but deliberate. This helps them feel less defensive because your not barking orders towering above them, your speaking right to them. In the same vain take their hand (especially toddlers) every time they want to show you something, or if you don't understand what they want or if your showing them something, keep that contact as much as possible with your child.
- Talk to them like a person. I remember when my son Kanen was born I put him in the Baby Bjorn and did all my house hold cores with him, explaining everything I was doing as if he was twenty and I was helping him unpack his first apartment. It may have looked crazy but I've always believed in the power of holding full conversations with my kids as if they were my friend, showing them everything and talking about everything. All three of my kids have been able to hold adult-sounding conversations using big words properly at the age of two. I just think it's so important to not underestimate what our kids are capable of.
- Give your kids a task to do. No matter what your doing involve your kids. If you're cooking dinner give them a task, get them cooking in the kitchen with you. If you're cleaning pick something they can do, show them how, and expect that they can do it (if they are old enough to walk they are old enough to clean something!). Regardless of what it is, if you get them involved they will feel like they are helping, and kids love that. It's another chance for praise and talking :)
- BONUS!!! Use the "Naughty Spot". If you haven't established a good discipline method that works for you, then you should try this. I learned it from the Super Nanny and it's works awesome with all three of my kids. Like everything else you have to follow the rules exactly and EVERY TIME, but if you do results will be huge and fast.
- Pick a corner in your house that's not totally isolated but also not where everyone else is. Use a place-mat or small chair and put it in the corner.
- Give your kid a warning when they first disobey or do something naughty, when you do get on their level, explain what they did wrong and what you expect from them, calm but firm. Let them know if they do it again they will sit in the knotty spot.
- If they do it again take them by the hand and tell them they had a warning now it's time to sit in the naughty spot.
- Sit them on the chair or mat and walk away.
- DO NOT TALK TO THEM.
- If they get up put them back without a word, calm but forceful.
- Do that as long as it takes for them to actually sit there for the same number of minutes as their age. Note: this could take 30 minutes of a kid kicking and screaming by the time they actually sit for 3 minutes. But trust me that will only be the first few times you apply this method. After that they will get the point.
- The key is to stay calm and to NOT talk to them no matter what.
- When their time is up, get on their level, explain why they were sent to the knotty spot (the specific thing they disobeyed on) then make them say sorry for it and give you a hug.
- Rinse and repeat, as they say. Same thing every time. Consistency is king baby!
All three of my kids have always loved to help, especially in the kitchen. They've known how to put away the dishes since they were about three.
|My babies, Izzy Kanen and Mira|
~Written by: Sarah Centrella for Thoughts.Stories.Life.
*This is an interactive blog please leave your comments and thoughts, I will respond :)