When to introduce consequences

When to introduce consequences

What do you do when your child won’t listen to you or is misbehaving? Time-outs? Give-in? Do you find yourself impatiently ordering them to just follow your directions? Time to introduce consequences! – Check out other helpful tips and advice from our experts – When most people hear the word “consequence” they think of something negative. In fact, a consequence is simply what happens after we do something. We want to share how to use consequences to help your child learn how what they do affects what happens next.  For example, if your child is having a good time playing with his sister, you might let them both stay up a little longer (positive consequence). However, if they have been bickering since dinner you might put them to bed earlier (negative consequence). One of the best ways to help your child learn is to use logical consequences – a consequence is logical when the consequence is related to the child’s behavior. Sometimes logical consequences happen naturally. For example, if a child becomes frustrated with a toy and breaks it, then she can’t play with it anymore. In this case, you can say something like: “I understand the toy made you mad because you couldn’t get it to do what you wanted. So, what happened? (pause) You broke it and can’t play with anymore. I know you really liked that toy. This is why we don’t throw our toys. What should you do next time you are mad about a toy? (pause) Come to me and we can figure it out.” Note that young children might not be able to answer these questions and that is okay. You should still...
How to get your child to listen

How to get your child to listen

Young children need opportunities to be autonomous and to be in control of their own thoughts and bodies. However, there are times when we need our little ones to do what we say​. Have you repeated yourself over and over to a toddler and wondered how to get your child to listen? Most of us have repeated ourselves trying to get a toddler to do what we want, and those repeated requests and​ ​the​ ​non-compliance cause frustration that can quickly turn​ ​into raised voices and negative emotions…no fun for parents or toddlers. Here are a few simple techniques that will increase the likelihood your child will comply ​​when you need them to: First, give your child many opportunities for choice throughout the day.​ ​[You can refer to the previous article on Choice for ideas]. If they have opportunities for choice, they are more likely to listen when choice is not an option. ​Try to limit the number of requests your child must comply with. When choice is not an option, your child will be more likely to comply when your instructions are simple, clear and provide positive directions. ​These are effective commands.​ The word “command” can seem strong but it is simply giving direction that is not optional. For example, saying “Are you ready to go to the store?” implies that your child has a choice​ ​-​ ​your child is free to say “No​,​ I don’t want to go!” If this is not a choice, instead say “It’s time to go to the store. Please walk to the car.” Here are some quick tips on how to give effective commands:...
Ways to praise

Ways to praise

When you attend to and acknowledge your child for their efforts and accomplishments, your child will feel good about him or herself because you are focusing on their strengths. Using praise improves relationships between adults and children and increases children’s self-esteem. There are effective ways to this, and based on the psychological effects of how praise is received by children, here are 3 tips on the best ways to praise your child: 1) Be specific Praise works best when you specifically describe the thing for which your child is being acknowledged. For example, it’s better to say “Great job – you worked hard picking up the toys!”  than saying “Great job!” It is best to praise children by focusing on the behavior rather than the person. For example, saying “I’m proud of you for tasting those carrots” puts the emphasis on the behavior (tasting a new food) whereas saying “you are a good girl for tasting those carrots” puts the emphasis on the child (being a good person). This may seem subtle, but we do not want children to think they are “good” or “bad” because of the behavior they display. We do want children to know what behaviors we expect from them and praising their positive actions accomplishes that.   2) Be sincere When your child does something that makes you happy or proud of him let him know by acknowledging the thing he did that made you proud. When praise is genuine and sincere, you should use it liberally. It increases children’s motivation and their self-esteem.  And no, you don’t need to worry about this kind of praise “going to his head”. Related, be careful not to give backhanded praise....
Helping Your Child Learn Autonomy Through Choice

Helping Your Child Learn Autonomy Through Choice

​As your baby becomes a toddler, you quickly enter a whole new ballgame of behavior management. Your child is learning that he or she can think, feel, and act independently, and it is amazing to watch ​this new independence in action​ ​-​ ​such as when your child decides that he can conquer that big slide on the playground all by himself​!​ However, it can be frustrating when your child asserts his autonomy at inopportune times. You might realize just how strong (physically and mentally!) your toddler become​s​ when he decides he is not getting in h​is​ car seat for no ​obvious​ reason.  You can use choice to help your child learn autonomy. Autonomy is an important developmental milestone in early childhood, but​ your child’s need to be in control over his or her own actions can create some serious power struggles. Some days you ​may ​feel your child says (or screams) “NO” to everything. As parents, we don’t often think about the amount of freedom our toddlers have to make independent choices ​throughout their day. Sometimes, children need more opportunities to feel in control, have some say in what they can do, and feel successful in their new independence. ​R​esearch shows that when parents offer children more choice, children are more likely to comply with their parents’ commands when choice is not an option.   What does it mean to offer choice? Choice is offering two options​, and your child picks ​one​.​ Instead of giving your child a command, you provide h​er​ the opportunity to decide what ​s​he wants to do. You ​offer​ behaviors or activities (usually two) that are...
Different toys for girls and boys?

Different toys for girls and boys?

Different toys for girls and boys? A wide range of play opportunities develops a wide range of interests.​ When I was pregnant with my first child, I was thrilled to find out I was having a daughter!​ ​I was also quite intentional about reducing gender stereotyping for Molly. I painted her room a pretty aqua blue. I bought a blue and red umbrella stroller, yellow onesies, and purchased exclusively gender neutral toys.​..a​nd it was easy to do.​ Family and friends bought Molly frilly pink dresses and books about princesses​…​and that was ok too. As she got older, she had a great mix of toys – yes, she had baby dolls but she also had a train set. I thought I had conquered the problem of gender-based toy selection​! When Molly was ​three years old​, two things happened that made we wonder why I had bothered: ​First, I ​vividly ​remember standing in the aisle of a major toy store in complete dismay. Every toy was either for a boy or a girl. I thought, “Has this always been the case?”​ I went to infant and toddler aisle and there were clearly gender neutral options but none to be found in the preschool toy section. I remembered that Molly wanted a camera and there were two models of the same camera toy—one blue and one pink! I bought the blue one and left the toy store in a sour mood! ​Second, ​something happened to Molly. ​ ​She fairly abruptly became interested in stereotypical feminine toys. One day, she brought me all her dinosaurs and said “Mommy, these toys do not belong...
Footer Animals