Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Children Thrive on Routine

Children thrive on routine and a structured, consistent environment. You may notice if you switch up a normal routine or react in a different way to your child than you normally would they act out, or become confused. This is because children thrive on routine and consistency.

For example, my six year old has figured out that she can walk all over me when I start not being consistent in my discipline methods or give multiple warnings and do not follow through. She plays on that, not in a malicious way, but in a childish way. Children do not act out intentionally they feed off what we do, our emotions, our actions, etc. You would be amazed the senses a child has, I know I am amazed everyday by my children and what they can sense.

In order to ensure you are getting the best from your child, set up rules or guidelines that are consistent, structured and based on their age level. Whatever method you use for discipline, be sure to follow through.

Let's say your child has acted out in a way that is unacceptable. You will then need to follow through. Usually allow one warning, do not word instruction as a question provide instruction as a direction. In other words, I have always used "will you" when telling my oldest to do something, which leaves room for her negotiations to begin; such as but, well I will after... you get the idea! You need to direct your child to do a task, such as "Please do this..now" and leave no room for negotiation. If your child does not listen the first time, provide them with their warning, "if you do not do this then you will.." insert whatever form of discipline you use after "will". Simply follow through, do not make idle threats, and when they are done "serving their time", be certain to have them complete the original task you had asked them to do. {A big thank you to Dawn W for her help and guidance in this area of parenting}

No one person is perfect, so why would parents be perfect? We will make mistakes, we will not say the right thing or do the right thing every time, but if you focus on being consistent, setting some simple rules or guidelines, and follow through eventually you and your child will get along in a better way. This is something I am working on personally as I have not been consistent and I have been asking my child to do things rather than telling the please do something.

I wish you success in being consistent and would love to hear some ideas on what has worked best in your household for you and your child(ren).

Wishing you luck,