Ways to Be a Better Parent: Reinforcing Small Changes in Your Child’s Behavior
Being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. You need a lot of patience and follow-up to ensure that you get through the most important (and sometimes hardest) years with your child in one piece. One of the most challenging lessons in life is teaching kids to do the right thing.
If they know that they don’t have to work, they could get very sloppy in their work habits while doing tasks and activities around the home. This article aims to do the opposite; it will provide helpful tips and tricks on working with your child to establish and reinforce positive behaviors.
Praise your child for being good.
The easiest way to get your child to act in a particular manner is to praise them. That does not mean you must give them anything cookie every time they do something right, but you must reinforce the behavior with genuine appreciation. Children are often sensitive to their parent’s approval, and they look at their parents as role models.
To make them kind, be kind yourself. If you want to share, share things with them. Positivity breeds positivity, and so on. Children love attention and will do whatever it takes to get it—if that means being good, then they’re more likely going to try hard in order not only to please you but also to boost their self-esteem and confidence as well.
Give rewards for good behavior.
Rewards are a great way to incentivize good behavior. Giving your child rewards for acting will encourage them to repeat that behavior in the future. You should steer away from using punishments as much as possible. However, even if you must punish, it is still important to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior. It is hard for children to behave well all the time, so frequent rewards will help them make progress and continue on their path of improvement.
When choosing what to use as rewards, consider what your child likes or wants most. A reward chart can help reinforce this new system as well! While parents may think that toys or candy are good ways to incentivize acts like listening and being kind, these rewards start losing meaning quickly. Some parents prefer rewarding things like quality time with family members or getting out of chores when they complete their daily goals.
Use stickers to encourage positive behaviors and keep track of positive days without a tantrum.
Stickers can make a big difference. It would help if you used them.
Choosing the correct stickers is critical. Maybe they should be something your child likes.
They should be the kind of thing that makes your child want to do good behavior, and when they get them, it’s a big deal.
Then you need to choose what behaviors you want to encourage with stickers: no tantrums, listening without yelling, doing what you’re told without being told 1,000 times?
Try using stickers to help your child know how good they’re doing day after day. That will make them excited about doing good behavior and earning their sticker reward.
Give your child age-appropriate chores.
Naturally, adults don’t have to do chores with their kids all the time—but sometimes we need to enforce a sense of responsibility and independence in our kids. The sooner we start helping our children learn how to behave themselves, the better off we’ll be as adults when they grow up. We all know that if we don’t teach our kids something early, they might never pick it up later on. To that end, chores are an essential tool in teaching small changes in behavior: showing them what it means to take care of oneself and others.
Let’s face it: most people these days are busy. Between work, family obligations, hobbies (or lack thereof), and even personal grooming—who’s got time for housework? If you cannot afford a maid service, you will have to depend on your good habits of cleaning the kitchen and bathroom multiple times a week. It will help keep things organized and ensure that your kids can do their homework without fighting over the mess or having a tantrum.
Let your child have input into rules and consequences.
As the parent, you are ultimately responsible for setting the rules and consequences. However, by letting your child have input into them and considering their point of view, they will most likely be more willing to follow the rules over time.
In addition to being more receptive to guidelines if they have a say in them, children will also benefit from feeling that their opinion is valued. Giving a child some ownership over the rules can increase their confidence and decrease negative behaviors stemming from feelings of inadequacy or stress.
Finally, this approach helps foster independence in children as well as responsibility. For example, your teenager won’t always have someone watching over her shoulder when she’s a college student living on her own for the first time. Suppose she has developed a sense of responsibility through participating in decisions that affect her life daily at home with you now. In that case, she will be better prepared for adulthood later on.
Encourage your child to make their own decisions.
Let your child make some decisions. It is essential because it allows them to become a confident and independent adult with the ability to make good choices. Some of the most significant decisions in one’s life include what career path one chooses, whether or not to get married, and when to have children. As a parent, you want your child to grow up and be capable of making their own decisions well into adulthood.
You can encourage your child to make several small decisions on their own, starting at an early age. Children can do to be more in control of their lives, including choosing what to wear, coming up with after-school activities, picking out snacks based on nutritional value, and doing homework instead of playing games on their phones.
Although your child will make mistakes along the way, as we all do when learning how to become independent adults, you are there for them every step until they become old enough to take care of themselves without assistance from others. You can help guide them by asking open-ended questions about why he/or they made confident choices so that he/or they can identify potential problems before they happen.
Acknowledge their efforts.
Children need acknowledgment, but not just in the form of rewards. If your child is crying because he did not get an ice cream cone, acknowledge his efforts to stand up for himself when it also means standing up to you, even if you are the one who did not give him what he wanted.
Even if your child’s behavior does not result in a favorable outcome, praise them for their efforts. For instance, if a child tries to help clean up around the house but does not put away her toys correctly or breaks something during their attempt to help out, praise her effort instead of lecturing her on what she should have done differently.
Celebrate big and small wins.
Celebrate big and small wins. Celebrating will reinforce positive behavior and give your child the much-needed encouragement to keep up the excellent work. But it’s not just the significant milestones that should be celebrated—even the littlest successes are worth a round of applause. A successful potty training session, getting dressed without complaining, or going to bed on time are all causes for celebration. You can choose to celebrate with a special meal, a trip to the park, or by having fun as a family with a game night or movie marathon. And don’t forget about you! A long-overdue spa day is definitely in order after weeks of handling your little one’s tantrums.
Children may have some trouble behaving well, but you can help them learn that breaking rules don’t benefit them.
If you’re not an experienced parent, you may feel like you’ve failed the first few times your child makes a mistake. But remember, mistakes are inevitable. There may be more mistakes than successes in parenting.
It’s important not to lose perspective when your child misbehaves or does something wrong. It will happen at some point; it’s normal for children to make mistakes from time to time.
Let them know how their actions affect you instead of taking your anger on them. Remember that every bad thing they do has a positive side: they learn that not everything is okay, and they try harder next time to avoid making the same mistake again.
Parents can do things to help their children behave well, including teaching them how to say no and teaching them to clean up after themselves immediately. This way, others won’t have to clean up for themselves, and they can learn to be responsible for themselves.
Andrea Gibbs is the Content Manager at SpringHive Web Agency, where she helps create content for their clients’ blogs and websites. She is currently a blog contributor at Montessori Academy, a blog dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.