I keep on saying that parenting isn’t a child’s play. Now with the lockdown kids are home 24×7. They are not even going out to play with their friends. Parenting has got even more difficult for parents, especially if both of are working. Do read my other post about how to entertain kids while working from home if you are a working parent. Lockdown or not, some basic things never change. Let’s see 7 parenting tips for preschoolers & grade-schoolers (Age 5 to 12).
1. Appreciate The Good Behavior, but…
First of all, give yourself a pat on back if you are a parent in the age group of 30 to 50 as on the year 2020 🙂 Ours is the last generation who obeyed our parents and now obeying our kids 😉 Jokes aside, we know the importance of not shouting when they make mistakes. We also realize the importance of appreciating the good deeds of our kids.
Many parents appreciate their kids for every small thing that they do. Well, that’s great for toddlers but preschoolers and grade-schoolers that is not a great approach. Don’t get me wrong. Appreciation is required but your kid should know the difference between good behavior and very good behavior.
If they know that everything that they do is getting appreciated then the importance of appreciation is lost. Let them strive for your good words and appreciation. At the same time don’t discourage their average behavior. You may say that this is good but this could have been better.
For e.g. my son has developed an interest in paintings. He attends a painting class. Frankly, his paintings are not great (yet). I tell him that they are good but I don’t forget to tell him that they can be better. I have seen that his paintings are improving day by day and he is just 8. Here is one of his best paintings as a result of this.
2. Home Reward System
Many stores offer loyalty points. Credit card companies offer reward points. The logic is simple. They want you to do more shopping using their cards at those specific stores.
I have implemented a home-based reward system. Each month he is eligible to buy one thing of his choice but just because I can afford it, he doesn’t get it. He has to earn it using his good behavior points. The points are decided based on the difficulty level of the tasks. Easy tasks get fewer points and difficult ones get more points. For e.g.. he gets points for completing his homework, packing his school bag, making his bed, brushing his teeth two times and so on.
You may maintain an excel file or just write points on a whiteboard. You may decide the frequency of point redemption to weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. It’s OK if they don’t earn enough points to buy the gift. If they are more or less following the point system then buy the gift for them. But, don’t feel bad to refuse to buy it if they are not following it.
If you can follow this for a year, rest assured your kid will become a self-disciplined kid.
3. Teach Them To Honor Promises
You have to keep your promises if you want your kid to keep his. There is no escape. Just do one thing, whenever you fulfill your promise, announce it to your kid. Do it each time without fail. Now whenever you want your kid to do something, ask for his promise. Put stress on the fact that you always keep your promise and you expect him to honor the promise made by him too.
Here is a conversation that I had a few years ago with my son.
Me: Are you a good boy?
Palash: Yes papa.
Me: Then do you promise to clean up your toys after you are done?
Palash: I will make that promise tomorrow 🙂
He was just 5 years old when he said that. Though he didn’t clean up, he realized the fact that he is not supposed to break a promise.
Trust me, this works. But You have to keep your promises too.
4. Punish Them & Allow Them To Punish You
First of all, when I say punishment, I don’t mean beating your kids physically. Punishment can be as simple as depriving them of their screen time, making them eat their non-favorite dish and so on.
Don’t award these punishments run time. If they make a mistake for the first time then agree on a punishment mutually for the next time.
My son gets limited screen time. He just loves that. We have agreed upon a few punishments. If he makes a mistake repeatedly, his limited screen time gets further limited. He tries his best not to repeat any mistake. Since he has already agreed for the same, he keeps his promise if he makes the mistake.
It is important that you don’t melt when they make that sorry face or cry. It’s OK to cry a bit. On the other hand, let them also punish you. My son is allowed to punish me if I make a mistake. He makes me do 10 sit-ups and bend and touch my leg toes 🙂
That creates a feeling of fair play in their mind and they understand that they are not supposed to repeat the mistakes
5. Explain The Logic Behind The Punishment
First of all, never ever punish the first mistake. Explain to them why is that a mistake. Then agree upon a mutual punishment. It will be great if you can avoid the word punishment. I failed to do so and used the word punishment. Instead, use the synonyms like corrective action. Just different words, but it won’t create a negative feeling about the actual punishment.
Explain to them how avoiding that mistake is better for them. How these punishments (aka corrective actions) will remind them not to repeat this mistake in the future.
Kids at this age understand logical reasoning. It also helps them to form their arguments in the future with logical reasoning. So don’t just punish them. That will form negativity in their mind. Instead, explain the logic behind it.
6. Be A Role Model
This is by far the most difficult thing to do. These years are very important for kids in terms of learning. Kids to form good or bad habits in these years. They are like a sponge during this time frame. If you show them good things then they will absorb good things and vice versa.
They spend most of their time in school and with you. In school, I presume that they are absorbing good things. At home, they are observing you and learning. Try to be composed and calm whenever you are around your kids. My wife and I try our best not to have heated arguments in front of my son. I don’t drink or smoke in front of him. Since I tell him to reduce the screen time, I too stay away from the phone, computer, and TV as far as possible. I have explained to him that I need to work on my computer and phone to earn money so I need to be in front of the screen for more time.
While I agree that I am not the best person for the role model, my wife and I are the next best options he has got. It also keeps me on my toes to put my best behavior. I am sure you too can do it for your kids.
There is no set formula when it comes to raising and discipline your kids. No two kids are the same. In spite of following the best parenting tips, the kids may still make mistakes again and again. They may still break their promises. You need to keep evolving depending on how your kid responds.
These, I have created based on my experience. I am still learning and I would like to learn from you too. What are the other tips that you are following? Do mention them in comments 🙂