Raising a well-behaved child is important, but can be far from easy.
Tip #4: Teach Problem Solving
When kids are exposed to problems that allow them to be part of the solution, it builds important skills that will carry over into their adult life including how to manage their behaviors.
Although kids crave structure and boundaries, they also love and need to exert their independence. Starting very early on with decisions like allowing them choices on what to wear or choosing which story they’d like to have read to them are great ways to build their independence. By taking advantage of everyday situations—milk or juice with breakfast, coloring or building castles with blocks, putting food in the dog’s bowl or throwing away the empty juice boxes—will foster their budding independence. As they grow, obviously they’ll have more opportunities to make more involved decisions, which in turn will aid in their problem solving abilities.
Tip #5: Teach Behavior During Play Time
Some of the best opportunities to teach good behavior happen during every day play time:
Forbid name calling. Compassion starts with what's acceptable and what's not. For instance, during a play date between your son and another little boy, you overhear you son call his pal a "booger head." Sure, it's not a terribly offensive phrase and may cause you to chuckle, but rather than overlooking the incident, intervene immediately and let him know that being kind to others is the rule and hurtful words are not allowed. If you get involved right away, you are sending an important message that kindness trumps everything and that name calling is not going to happen.
Label kindness. When you catch your child offering a shovel to a friend in the sandbox, label her actions by saying "What a good friend you are," or "You're very thoughtful." Over time, she'll understand that being a helpful friend, sister, neighbor, and human being is something you value.
Over time, she'll understand that being a helpful friend, sister, neighbor, and human being is something you value.
Tip #6: Request Respect
If your kids are taught how to respect themselves and others, they will learn good coping skills for dealing with anger and frustration in appropriate ways that are not verbally or physically abusive to others.
For example, when adults or other children come to our house for a visit, we expect our kids to smile and say hello. If they don’t, I always give a gentle reminder such as “Austin, you remember Mrs. Ryan don’t you?” The more kids can learn about respect from their parents, in their own home, the easier it will be for them to practice it in the outside world.
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