Preschoolers are full of energy and want to explore their surroundings all the time.
As a parent, you want your child to learn about the world, but at the same time, their energy can, at times, overwhelm even the most patient of adults.
Preschoolers are notoriously short-tempered and are prone to tantrums.
Remember, you are an adult and should behave like one. If you lose your temper too, you won’t get anything positive out of it. Moreover, your child will learn to ignore your anger over time, and the tantrums will get even worse.
There is really no need to raise your voice when you are trying to reason with a child.
With a few clever techniques, you will be able to outsmart them and make them listen to you.
This article will introduce you to some effective parenting techniques that will help you handle your small children, and help them become well-mannered individuals.
1. Avoid saying just “No!”. Give options.
Cold, sharp “no” is something even adults find annoying. It creates a sense of instant dislike.
When your child asks you for something that they cannot have, if you answer with a brief “no” and turn away, this will stir up some negative emotions and a sense of protest.
Instead, try to offer them an alternative. You may say something along the lines of “I am sorry, honey, you cannot do that because… but how about…”.
Speaking in a calm tone of voice, explaining to the child that there is a legitimate reason for the refusal, and providing an alternative, makes your decision seem fairer. And the child is less likely to rebel against it.
2. Let them know what is expected of them ahead of time.
When the child has a clear idea of what kind of behavior is expected of them in a given situation, they are more likely to comply.
And if they don’t comply, they will be less likely to protest the punishment for misbehaving because they knew in advance what the rules and expectations were.
3. You can’t win all battles.
The long-term goal of a parent is to raise children who are independent and think critically.
If you micromanage every little step, then your children will grow up dependent on you. There are, of course, some things that are not negotiable (e.g., always wear the seatbelt in the car).
But there should be some room for negotiation in some more trivial matters (e.g., what outfit to wear for the day).
If your children notice that you refuse them in everything, no matter what they ask for, then your refusal will lose its weight over time, and they will just learn to tune you out.
4. Core principles are not negotiable.
While you can’t win all battles, children do behave better when they are aware of a few core rules that are constant and not negotiable.
For example, the computer must be switched off before a certain time; the bedtime is before 9 p.m., always brush your teeth twice a day, and so on.
The routine gives them a sense of security. The opposite of routine is chaos, and if you start letting them get away with breaking fundamental rules, chaos is what you are going to get.
5. Give a time warning.
If you are guests at the friend's house, it is best if you give them the heads up before the fun is over.
If you just walk into the room abruptly and declare “we are leaving now,” the child hasn’t had the time to emotionally process the information yet, so the tantrum is to be expected.
Instead, try telling them 10 minutes n advance so that they have time to process the upcoming event.
6. Wait for it to end.
Children have a lot of emotional intelligence. More than you think.
Sometimes when they are misbehaving, they exaggerate their behavior because they can sense that it annoys you, and they feel that they can wear you down if they do it for long enough.
If you say “calm down” or something similar while they are throwing a tantrum, this will give them a clue that their annoyance is working.
Try keeping your cool and simply waiting it out. They will get tired sooner than you think.
7. When possible, show them the consequences of their actions.
Children are more likely to listen to their parents if they know that you are acting in their best interest, and the thing you are trying to prevent is really unpleasant.
For instance, if the child is being stubborn and doesn’t want to put on their jacket, you may open the balcony door for a few seconds and let them see for themselves how cold it is outside, and why the jacket is necessary.
Of course, you cannot use this method in all situations. If something is genuinely dangerous, then you have no other choice but to overrule the child’s stubbornness and have them do as you say.
8. Avoid the triggers.
Some bad behavior is preventable. Over time you will learn what makes your child lose their mind (e.g., sweets or certain toys) and, if possible, avoid these temptations altogether.
9. Reward good behavior.
Stickers are sold everywhere, and they are cheap.
Buy yourself a bunch of colorful stickers and a big wall calendar and give your child a sticker for each day they have been good.
At the end of the month, if they have collected over a certain number of stickers, you can buy them a small present.
This will teach them that good behavior gets rewarded, so they will make an effort to be good more often.
10. Keep it short and sweet.
Children are unable to process long sentences, so if you keep on talking for several minutes, this will only irritate the child and make them misbehave more. Use short, simple sentences, and make sure that your main message is as clear as day.
These tips will help you communicate better with your small child. But remember that each person is unique and different methods work to a different degree.
Find the way that best suits your child and stick with it.
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