As parents, we always find ourselves in situations that we just need our kids to do what we want them to do because it's right. It's often easy to fall into the trap of using "because mom said so", but we all know this might not be the best for their self esteem. Used too often, it might not even work anymore!
Here are 5 ways that you can get your kids to co-operate without having to lose your cool. A happy home makes a happy life!
1. Set boundaries
Having boundaries with kids is a key to success in positive parenting. Setting and enforcing of boundaries allow us to stay patient and calm because we feel that our own needs in the relationship with our children are being met.
For example, if your child constantly insists on sitting on your lap at dinner time and you can't eat because of that, you can set a boundary. Set a rule that everyone sits on their chairs for meals, hugs and snuggles can be done after dinner.
Having a rule and enforcing it builds a sequence makes it easy for your child to follow. It's a win-win!
2. Build connection to gain cooperation
If a random stranger comes up to your child and tells them to do something, do you think they will do it? Probably not.
It's a natural human response to act only to people that we have a connection with. Whenever you punish a child's behavior by yelling or losing your cool, you diminish the connection you have with them.
A better way is to try building in a little extra time to connect with your child every time they are going through a rough patch with behavior. It doesn't even have to be long, 15mins a day, phone-free dedicated time can make a world of a difference to them.
Also, you can further connect with your child through selected toys that encourages co-operation and communication. Some of these toys can be building blocks, magnetic toys, or balance stacking games.
3. Be firm, but loving
You can absolutely be firm and hold your children to high expectations while being loving. This is all about the tone that you choose to use.
Decide what's important to you and communicate it clearly to your child. Use a loving tone (no raising voice or yelling) to enforce the rules. The key here is to be consistent.
4. Use natural consequences
For example, if your child refuses to put on is rain boots, tell them that they will get their feet wet, and it will feel yucky. If they insist, allow the consequence to unfold and then verbalize to them that their feet are now wet. Again, use a calm tone with this. They're more likely to want to put on their rain boots the next time!
5. Use time-in, not time-out
Positive parenting is all about building and maintaining your relationship with your child so that they will listen to you naturally. Time-out sends a message to them that you can't deal with their behavior and we want to be separate from them. This pushes you apart.
Time-in is about spending time with your child and being present. Remove your child from the situation that is causing the misbehavior. Then stay with them until he or she is calm. It might sound difficult to do, but believe me, it takes less time than you think!
I sometimes fill my time in space with toys that are naturally calming. Plush toys, marble runs, or stacking toys are great examples of toys that are suitable for a space that is used for time-ins!