Although it feels like it was only yesterday that you had a bun in the oven, before you know it, your little one becomes not so little anymore. Often, we expect them to come home from school boosting about their new discoveries or tales of their imaginary trip in the wild with their classmates, or even about the friend that wouldn’t share his snack. However, as they become more independent and develop their social skills, our little ones often learn undesirable habits along the way. Well, it’s all part and parcel of growing up, isn’t it?
Unfortunately for us parents, this leaves us with the challenging task of steering them back to the right track. Here are 5 tips to help with that:
1. Teachers are your best buddies at school
Is your child modelling one of their friends at school? If that’s the case, the first step is to probably speak to your child’s teacher.
Though it might seem tempting to bombard your her with a list of questions, like a scene from Crime Scene Investigation, remember that teachers are your allies at school. Don’t assume or jump to conclusion but ask them general questions instead. Does Alex concentrate during lessons? or How is Nurul treating her friends in school? Who are his best friends in school? Are they nice to the other kids? Is he being nice to other kids? Be in good terms with their teacher and get the teacher to tell you when your child is behaving differently.
2. Monkey See, Monkey Do
We all have bad days, and it’s so easy to vent your frustration at the people we care the most— little ones included. Our children are often our biggest fans and they tend to follow what we do. When we yell at our little ones, they’ll eventually learn to deal with anger and frustration the same way.
So the first step is for us to manage our own
emotions. Take a deep breath and calm down. ‘Easier said than done’ you say and we hear you BUT, it is necessary. Step away from the situation if needed. Get someone else to watch your child so that he doesn’t hurt himself, while you calm down. When you’re calm, it is likely that your feisty little human will be calmer too.
3. Manage BIG Emotions
Is your child using BIG, BAD words when he is angry and frustrated. Or perhaps, his temper-tantrums are rivalling that of The Hulk. While he may be picking up this bad behaviour from other children, there could also be a lot of pent up feelings just waiting to be unleashed. Imagine what that’s like for a little person who is just discovering the world and trying to manage BIG emotions.
Dive deeper into the problem or the root of the situation. Remember that you are your child’s safe-zone, so show them they love and comfort that they need. Find a comfortable spot and ask them gently about why they’re saying certain words or just find out how their day was? Hear them out before stepping in. You’d be surprise to find that the simplest thing may have been the cause of that massive tantrum. Once they’ve finished, explain to them the meaning and the consequences of using their behaviour. Some children do need to move around a lot or take more time to understand so be patient.
4. Confidence-booster SOS
When your child says ‘I can’t’ to the simplest of task too often or put themselves down, convinced that they’re ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid,’ your little one might need an urgent dose of confidence. Schools can magnify your
child’s insecurities. Especially if your child tends to be sensitive or a perfectionist. Resist the need to counter their argument. Instead, encourage them to not compare themselves to others. Acknowledge the issue without validating their real concerns. For example, when your child says, “I can’t do this”, emphasise effort rather than allowing them to focus on the outcome.
5. Use Positive Words
Your child’s behaviour was bad but never label your child as bad. Just like us, adults, he will have his moments too. Empower him with positive vibes, praise him when he deserves it, find him a role-model— be it through a character in a book that he can identify with or his favourite sportsman and even adapt a reward system. Though, it is crucial that the reward is non-materialistic. Perhaps, let him choose what to have for dinner with the family, or granting him that extra time at the park with his friends.
Children are like sponges, they can absorb just about anything— the good and the bad. As parents, we will have to learn how to embrace and handle these moments wisely. We are after all, laying the foundation for our future generation. So, while every child is different, we will just have to figure out how best to make it a solid one