Kids will be kids. But why are some of them so well behaved and others totally out of control? Experts believe the secret to raising a well behaved child is all about teaching your child self-discipline. Starting from the age of 2. These 4 essential techniques help transform your ‘terrible two toddler’ into a ‘perfect little angel’:
1. Set Firm Rules & Expect Respect
A child needs to understand that there are boundaries in order to self-regulate and respect limits. The better they understand boundaries, the less they will whine and throw tantrums trying to get their way. A short explanation why something needs to happen helps the child understand; You have to put away your toys so we’ll know where to find them next time. Offer lots of praise when a child behaves well: You have tidied up all your toys, I am so proud of you. Good Job. Follow rules yourself. Lead by example, e.g. don’t scream when you’re frustrated. Cultivate a conscience. Don’t immediately try to minimize the discomfort of guilt for bad behavior. A big part if learning is determining right from wrong.
2. Build Problem-Solving Skills
Feeling frustrated and powerless is a major trigger for tantrums. Doing little and simple jobs independently and successfully creates self-esteem. Encourage a “try, try again” attitude. It’s much quicker to take over but it’s important to let toddlers practice and succeed without your intervention. Let kids make decisions. Give them the opportunity to make choices as soon as they’re old enough to understand. Make them think things out. Instead of answering their questions try sometimes to respond with a question: What do you think you should do? Such a response will eventually give them confidence in their own ability to figure things out.
3. Patience is a Virtue
Make them wait. I am thirsty, can I have some water? Try to make them wait 5 minutes. Don’t drop everything as soon as your child asks for something (unless it’s majorly important). Explain and verbalize what they are feeling (e.g. when in line for the swing): I know it’s tough to stand here and wait your turn. But you’re doing a terrific job. You’re being patient, and that’s great! Engage in activities that promote patience instead of instant gratification. Puzzles instead of Ipad. Book reading instead of TV watching.
4. Put an Emphasis on Empathy
Children are born believing that the world revolves around them; the sooner you help them understand that everybody has feelings and emotions, the less likely they’ll be to behave in ways that annoy or hurt other people. Celebrate your child’s acts of kindness. That is nice sharing! But also ask them How do you think your friend feels when you won’t share your things with her? Help them read body language. Did you notice that she was smiling? You made her feel so good.
Teaching your child self-discipline won’t happen overnight. Repetition will be the key to success. And most of all, don’t forget, angels only exist in fairy tales 😉
Raising Kids in the 21st Century, Sharon Hall
Scream Free Parenting, Hal Runkel
Raising a Self-Disciplined Child, Robert Brooks
Discipline Without Distress, Judy Arnall
Help Your Kids Get It Done Right at Home and at School, Donna M. Genett
Generation Text: Raising Well-Adjusted Kids in the Age of Instant Everything, Michael Osit
Understanding Your Child’s Puzzling Behavior, Steven E. Curtis