Kids. One moment they can make you smile and the next? They make you want to pull your hair out.
I used to have to spend 4 hours, 5 days a week with 20 kids. I’m not saying that it’s the same as spending the whole day with your own kids. But I feel you and I totally get how you can go nuts.
But I can tell you that you don’t have to go nuts all the time. There are strategies that you can implement so that you don’t have to always end up scolding or screaming at your kids.
Just a disclaimer though, I don’t know all the secrets to handle a child. I never figured it out fully in my years of teaching small kids, but I found improvements when I started to implement these strategies and tips with my kids.
The kids always listened to instructions, they understood what is expected of them, none of them misbehaved ever again– says some other teacher. Not me, I still struggle sometimes. But that’s okay, we are all learning.
So what are these strategies exactly?
#1 Avoid the self-fulfilling prophecy
I don’t know about you but I have noticed that so many of us are a little too quick to use negative connotations when talking about kids who are a little difficult to manage.
“Oh, it won’t work. He NEVER listens.”
If that’s you, I would like to sincerely advise you to stop doing that. Every child has the potential to behave. They will only misbehave when they are put in certain conditions and situations.
Besides, your child has ears. She listens and if you keep on saying that she will never behave well, then she will end up believing so.
But, if you insist on thinking that your child is just “naughty” then you have already lost even before the battle begins.
#2 Give clear expectations
Do you want your child to not jump on the couch? Tell them that before they can even do that.
Sometimes, children do the wrong things because they don’t know it’s wrong. Our job is to stay ahead of the game and think of the possible misbehavior before it happens. Then, simply tell your kids what you expect from them.
Here is an example to give you a better illustration:
Okay so, you’re going to the library with your kids.
What are the possible misbehaviors?
- running around
- talking loudly
- scattering the books everywhere
How to set expectations?
We’re going to the library later. It is not a place to run so we have to walk. We can’t talk loudly too, or else we will disturb others. So we have to speak softly. Also, let’s remind each other to put the books back nicely after reading okay?
#3 Remind, remind, remind
Using the example before, you can keep on reminding your child on the way to the library with questions.
Can you shout in the library? No
Give them a specific scenario if possible.
But what if I’m far away? What can you do to call me instead of shouting for me? That’s right, you can come to me instead.
So you get the point. Keep on reminding because kids are kids. They get distracted and may forget.
#4 Make it easy for them to behave
How? Two ways.
You don’t want your child to eat sweets? Keep it out of sight as soon as you say no and allow them to do something else that will distract them. Like playing somewhere else.
Children know how to ask the “why” question and saying “because I say so” may not be the best. Making them understand why will most likely help them cooperate.
And if you don’t have a reason. Try to not say no.
#5 Help them understand natural consequences
These are not the same as punishments. Natural consequences are what will happen when they do something they’re not supposed to, without your planning.
For example, your child refuses to share her toys with her friend. A natural consequence would be her friend refusing to play with her.
Natural consequences may not take effect immediately or can be dangerous. So it may not be wise to let it happen. Instead, your job is to help them think ahead. You can do this by talking about the outcome if they do something bad.
Try to be consistent in applying these. Consistency is going to help your child have some structure and structure is one of the most effective ways of managing a child’s behavior.
That being said, kids are kids. They will make mistakes and fall into error. They act up. So what do we do then? Well, I’ll save that for my next post insyaAllah.
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