Here are some tips to avoid some of the pitfalls and leave home happy and calm:
1. Give yourself and your child enough time - Trying to do everything in a short time-frame is likely to mean you are rushing, getting stressed, and your child will become stressed too. A stressed child is less likely to be co-operative.
2. Explain why you are doing what you’re doing - Children generally respond better when they understand why certain things are happening, for example, why you need to leave home at a particular time and why your child has to go to childcare.
3. Pick your battles - Don’t make everything an issue or a power struggle. Ask yourself “Does it really matter?”, “What is the worst thing that could happen if I allow this/don’t get this done/am five minutes late.”
4. Make sure your children get enough sleep - Have a bedtime routine that means your child is falling asleep at a reasonable time. Adults need 7 to 8 hours sleep each night, children need more. A tired child is less likely to be co-operative.
5. Deal with little problems before they become big problem - For example, if your child is struggling with a breakfast he can't eat, do something about it before he gets really upset or angry. Let him know that he needs to eat at least half the toast, or find a different cereal.
6. Don’t start something if you don’t want it to continue and form a habit - For example, giving your child a lolly at breakfast as a reward for getting dressed. Rewards can quickly turn into expectations on the child’s part. Let the reward be a smile, a hug, a happy parent.
7. Use natural consequences as your discipline - If things are not going well and the routine is out the window, teach acceptable behaviour by allowing the natural consequence to follow unacceptable behaviour, rather than unrelated punishment.
And a final word- Don’t use threats. Saying to your child “I’m leaving the house right now with or without you” as you walk to the door, will only upset and worry your child. You don’t want to have a fearful child, or damage your relationship with your child, and threatening is not a good way to start the day.
Janet Powell, The Parenting Coach of Mentor Maestro helps parents create wonderful family relationships and overcome the challenges of parenting today.
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