- Play Time: Always remember to set aside at least 15 minutes of daily play time with your children. This should be uninterrupted time, with no phone or TV or any other distractions. Your children will transition better and act out less knowing you are going to play with themat some point every day. Try and have it at the same time everyday so it is part of their daily routine.
- Attachment & Bonding: Your children need to feel close to you and you close to them. Make sure you share special moments like reading to your kids or singing with them. Create a bedtime routine where you can rub their back or tell stories. Having a loving attachment with a beloved caregiver helps them feel secure and safe building trust with you, and lets them know they will always get their needs met by you.
- Give praise: Kids thrive on praise (just like adults) so be sure to always tell them when they have made you happy or have done something that is helpful or kind. Label specifically what it is vs. saying “good job.” This will motivate them to do it again!
- Age Appropriate Expectations: Read up on the developmental stage of your children so you know what to expect from them. It sets your children up for failure and frustration if you are expecting them to do more than they are capable of. Try not to compare your children to your friends’ or relative’s children, they are developing at their own pace, and you need to match your language and tasks accordingly.
- Have a Routine: Children thrive on routines in their day (that is why every school and preschool always has a daily routine). Make sure that you have a daily routine, especially for meals, naps, play and bedtime. Your life will be much easier depending on this schedule also. If you have a set routine, being flexible for unexpected events will flow smoother as long as you are talking about it to the children. e.g. “Today is a little different than usual because we have Aunt Jane with us, so we will be going to bed a bit later than normal.”
- Safety: Remember to look around your house from the child’s perspective to remove any safety hazards. Sometimes it will be necessary to remove some of your furniture until they have become steadier on their feet and less curious. Keep in mind that safety does not just mean physical safety, but it also means emotional safety as well. Keep your children free from violence, scary TV and media. Remember that what may not be scary to an adult could cause severe anxiety in a child.
- Positive Communication: Remember to say things in the positive form avoiding using the word No! E.g. “Use walking feet” vs. “no running” and “I need you to sit on your bottom,” vs. “no standing on the chair.” If you are a yeller, try whispering to get your point across, sometimes this has an equally strong effect. Think of how you would feel if a neighbor or a friend was yelling at your child and ask yourself why it is any different when you yell at them. Make eye contact with your child and always squat down to their level to show them your loving respect.
- Set Limits: Without limits, your children will crave them and act out in negative ways. Be clear with your child and give them the opportunity to change their behavior before you take action. Follow the 3 steps in setting limits to ensure you are not begging or bribing your kids to comply. Step 1: State your expectation e.g. “I need you to keep the water in the tub.” Step 2: State your expectation with a consequence e.g. “Keep the water in the tub, or you will be finished.” Step 3: Follow through. “Ok, you are showing me you are finished,” or “thank you for keeping the water in the tub.” Some kids may need a reminder in between step 2 + 3, but no more than one warning or you may end up begging them again!
- Offer choices: Keep in mind that children have very little power or say in their day. The more choices you offer the more they will feel some control in their life and test your limits less. Keep your choices simple, never including punishment as one of the choices. E.g. “You have a choice, you can carry your coat or put it on, but you have to take it with you.”
- Use Humor: Remember parenting is tough, but so is being a kid. If you can lighten up and tell a joke or make a joke out of a difficult situation, you can sometimes diffuse the energy or just make your self feel better.
Relief Nursery prevents the cycle of child abuse and neglect through early intervention that focuses on building successful and resilient children, strengthening parents, and preserving families.
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