As a parent, temper tantrums are one of the most stressful and frustrating things you'll have to deal with, especially once your child hits the terrible twos. However, according to child psychologists, most children don't throw a tantrum just to be naughty or manipulative -- rather, the screaming is a symptom of the child's anger and frustration when they don't have the vocabulary to explain what's really wrong with them. Therefore, staying calm and learning to identify what's really bothering your child will help you to handle the situation quickly and effectively. Start with Step 1 below for more detailed information on handling your child's temper tantrum.
No one would argue that raising children of character demands time and effort. While having children may be doing what comes naturally, being a good parent is much more complicated. If you want to know how to raise a child, follow these steps.
Method 1 of 4: Developing a Healthy Routine
Put parenting first. This is hard to do in a world with so many competing demands. Good parents consciously plan and devote time to parenting. They make developing their child’s character their top priority. Once you're a parent, you have to learn to put your priorities below your children's, and to make the sacrifice to spending more of your day caring for them than you do caring for yourself. Of course, you shouldn't neglect yourself completely, but you should get accustomed to the idea of putting your child's needs first.
If you have a spouse, then you can take turns caring for the child so each of you can have some "me time." When you plan your weekly routine, your child's needs should be your primary focus.
Read to your child every day. Helping to nurture a love for the written word will help your child to develop a love for reading later on. Set a time for reading for your child every day -- typically around bed time or nap time. Spend at least half an hour to an hour reading to your child each day, if not more. Not only will your child develop a love for words, but your child will have a better chance of both academic and behavioral success. Studies show that children that were read to on a daily basis demonstrate less bad behavior in school.
Eat dinner as a family. One of the most dangerous trends in the modern family is the dying of the family meal. The dinner table is not only a place of sustenance and family business but also a place for the teaching and passing on of our values. Manners and rules are subtly absorbed over the table. Family mealtime should communicate and sustain ideals that children will draw on throughout their lives.
If your child is a picky eater, don't spend dinner time criticizing your child's eating habits and watching what he or she doesn't eat like a hawk. This will lead your child to have a negative association with family meals.
Get your child involved in the meal. Dinner will be more fun if your child "helps" you pick out food at the grocery store or helps you set up the table or to do small food-related tasks, such as washing the vegetables you will cook.
Keep dinner conversation open and light. Don't give your child the third-degree. Simply ask, "How was your day?"
Set a strict bedtime routine. Though your child doesn't have to go to bed during the same five-minute stretch every single night, you should set a bedtime routine that your child can follow and stick to it. Studies show that children's cognitive abilities can drop two full grade levels after just one missed hour of sleep, so it's important that they get as much rest as they can before you send them to school.
Your routine should include some winding-down time. Turn off the TV, music, or any electronics, and either talk to your child softly in bed or read to him.
Don't give your child sugary snacks right before bed or it'll be harder to get him to sleep.
Encourage your child to develop skills each week. Though you don't have to sign your child up for ten different activities each week, you should find at least one or two activities that your child loves to do and incorporate them into your child's weekly routine. This can be anything from soccer to art class -- it really doesn't matter, as long as your child shows a talent or a love for something. Tell your child what a great job he's doing and encourage him to keep going.
Taking your child to different lessons will also help him or her socialize with other children.
Don't get lazy. If your child complains that she doesn't want to go to piano lessons, but you know she likes it deep down, don't give in just because you don't feel like driving over there.
Give your child enough play time every day. "Play time" does not mean having your child sit in front of the TV and suck on a building block while you do the dishes. "Play time" means letting your child sit in his room or play area and to actively engage with stimulating toys while you help him explore their possibilities. Though you may be tired, it's important that you show your child the benefits of playing with his toys so he gets the stimulation he needs and so he learns to play with them on his own.
It doesn't matter if you don't have 80 million toys for your child to play with. It's the quality, not the quantity of the toys that counts. And you may find that your child's favorite toy of the month is an empty toilet paper roll.
Method 2 of 4: Loving Your Child
Learn to listen to your children. Influencing their lives is one of the greatest things you can do. It is easy to tune out our children, and a missed opportunity for meaningful guidance. If you never listen to your children and spend all of your time barking orders at them, they won't feel respected or cared for.
The goal of parenting is to help our children become responsible adults. To achieve this goal, parents help children learn about life and living in today’s society.
The time parents spend with their children is important. Children need to be loved unconditionally. Doris Curran, a parent educator, says the cry of children today is, “Love me for who I am, not what I do. Love me for being, caring, sharing, and erring, not winning, placing, and showing.” That does not mean that we have to approve of everything a child does. What it does mean is that even though the child misbehaves, we still love and accept the child and provide support.
Talk with children
Spend time talking with children. Talk about any topic of interest to both of you. Talk about the day’s events and the child’s feelings about them. Through observation and interaction with parents, children learn how to communicate. Children learn to express their needs. They learn to listen. They learn to understand nonverbal clues.
Children learn about families from the time they spend in their own families. They learn about birth and caring for another person when a new baby comes home from the hospital. They learn about loss when a family member dies. They learn about marriage and relationships by watching their mothers and fathers interact. By living in a family, children learn to share, how to stand up for their own rights, and how to love another person.
Parents help children develop positive self-esteem by communicating the value they feel for them. Words of encouragement and love help provide children with the courage to try new things without worrying excessively about not being able to succeed.
Growing up with trust
Children learn about trust at home from their parents. They learn trust from being trusted. When parents trust children to accomplish a task on their own, they learn that they can do the task.
Parents help children learn to be more responsible when they help them learn to control their own behavior. A disciplined person has the ability to decide what appropriate behavior is and to act accordingly. Parents use discipline to help guide their children as they become responsible adults. Take the time to make discipline a learning experience. Appropriate discipline should include four parts. Children need to understand:
1) What behavior is not acceptable
2) Why it is not acceptable
3) What behavior is appropriate
4) Why it is appropriate
By helping children understand why something they did was unacceptable, they can learn what acceptable behavior is. There is no one right way to train children. A variety of discipline techniques exist. What is important is a warm and loving relationship between parents and children.
Article courtesy of Motivated! magazine. Used with permission.
Love is the cornerstone.
Differences must be overcome with love.
Parents, treat your children gently and in love.
Parents should govern their children with authority, tempered with patience, mercy, and truth.
All Bible verses from NIV and ERV, unless otherwise indicated. Originally created by Activated Magazine; used with permission.
Linda Kavelin Popov with Dan Popov, Ph.D., and John Kavelin, book excerpt
What kids are
Like an acorn, which has within it the capacity to become a towering oak, a child has great potential. All children are born with all the virtues, the gifts within, waiting to grow. You may have noticed sometime or other a plant sprouting up through the concrete of a city street. The urge for growth is one of the strongest needs of any living thing.
What a child becomes is a result of four things: nature, nurturance, opportunity, and effort.Nature is a child’s natural giftedness or virtues “profile.” Although each child has all the virtues within them in potential to one degree or another, the potential for the development of certain virtues is greater in a particular child, just as a rose has different attributes than a chrysanthemum. Nurturance is how a child is educated, how his gifts are recognized and supported, the difference between watering a plant and letting it wilt. The opportunities children have to act on their virtues give them the possibility to become who they are. A great musician of world-class creativity without an instrument may never learn of the special music she has within her. Effort is a child’s responsibility, his ability to respond to the opportunities to practice the virtues.
Ultimately it is the choice of a child to act on her own potential. It is said that God provides nature and a parent provides nurture. The child himself must choose to respond to the opportunities in his life. Choice is at the core of moral will.
We have such a short but critical time in which to have a fundamental impact on the development of the character of our children, which is the greatest asset for their happiness. Much of their character development is complete by the time they turn seven.
What kids are not
We are used to thinking of children as psychological beings who need good physical care and also affection, respect, and a healthy balance between dependence and independence. The idea of a parent as a spiritual educator builds on yet goes beyond the notion of the child as a psychological being.
The book offers a frame of reference in which a child’s need for character education is primary. A parent, as spiritual mentor, focuses first of all on facilitating the child’s moral readiness. In order to make the shift from caretaker to educator, it is helpful to let go of notions about children which are not true to their spiritual nature.
Your child is not born a blank slate upon which you will write. There is no such thing as a generic baby. True, a child’s personality and character are not fully formed. But they are “in there.” Just as an oak is in an acorn—not a spruce or a palm but an oak—each child is born with a special bundle of potential. In that bundle are three things:
Spiritual parenting involves a focus on a child’s gifts and possibilities, a readiness to support them to develop all they can be—to give life their best effort.
A child is not a prince(ss) which parents warp into a frog. This is a modern notion which implies that if we left them to their own devices, children would be pure, undefiled, whole, and perfect. It contends that we are the ones who mess them up and “dethrone” them. This is a half truth. Parents do have enormous influence on children and can shape the script a child carries through life. But it is also true that left to their own devices, children are likely to take the path of least resistance, resorting to survival instincts, the animal side of their nature as material/spiritual beings. It is easier to develop the lower side of their nature, which doesn’t require them to engage their will. So children very much need a guiding hand to lead them. They are not inherently “pure.” They have the potential for both goodness and for destructiveness. Every quality they possess, every virtue, can be directed or misdirected. That’s why your role is so vital to their success.
There are many virtues that thrive only under conditions of challenge. How can one learn patience without having to wait? How would a child ever develop determination if life did not provide frustrations? How could we learn forgiveness without being hurt? If we don’t use our virtues, we lose them, just like muscle tone in the physical body. Protecting children from their challenges is running interference with the Creator. As moral champions, our children deserve more respect.
Some of the best parents have children who make very bad choices or are born with a particularly difficult temperament. How you parent is your responsibility, how they turn out is a complex and mysterious process, with many influences other than yours.
The opposititis trap
We often unconsciously project onto our children the unmet needs we had as children. If something in our childhood caused us pain—usually a lack of love—we tend to go one of two ways. Either we unconsciously repeat our parents’ behavior with our own children, or we go to the opposite extreme.
We are far more aware of wanting to correct the sins of our parents when they emerge in our behavior than to catch the more insidious habit of opposititis. For example, if our parents were very judgmental and made their affection conditional on our performance, we want to give unconditional love to our children. What that may look like, unfortunately, is giving them carte blanche acceptance no matter what they do, whether they are being rude or courteous, kind or cruel. In doing so, we are ignoring their true needs for mastery and meaning. If our parents tended to be too affectionate and sloppily sentimental, we may hold our children at arm’s length, giving them the respect and space we always craved. Meanwhile, they may be longing for more hugs.
The problem is that either way we are “reacting” to our own story rather than truly seeing our children. Our parenting becomes dictated by our needs and experiences rather than what is going on for our children. Rather than consciously treating our children as they need to be treated, we are treating them as we wish we had been treated by our parents.
The “chip off the old block” syndrome
Seeing a child for who she is, a unique individual, calls for us to detach ourselves from any expectations we may have of what the basic nature or “virtues profile” a child of ours “should” have, especially in the service of our egos. If she seems to be a quiet child who likes to read and has only one or two friends, it is not our place to try to shape her personality into that of an outgoing socialite. If we happen to be shy and have some painful memories of social awkwardness, we may feel the need to push this gentle little soul in a direction that is not hers.
Many people spend years feeling they are not enough no matter what they do. The disappointment of a parent is devastating to a child. When our children disappoint us—and they will—it is for one of several reasons. Some of these are:
Of course, we have a desire to pass on what we have learned to our children, but the truth is that they meet life with a fresh perspective. It is far more empowering to focus on the virtue of excellence or purposefulness and then to discover, with great curiosity and openness, how your child will uniquely express these virtues in his life.
. Wellspring International Educational Foundation, 1997.The Family Virtues Guide: Simple Ways to Bring Out the Best in Our Children and Ourselves
Do you want to channel your child’s unbounded energy and curiosity into positive and rewarding learning experiences? Keys to Toddlers and Preschoolers is a parenting guide with scores of fun, practical learning activities and suggestions to keep your ever on-the-go little one occupied for hours. More importantly, learn how to prepare
your child for life’s challenges and changes, and lay a foundation of faith that will guide and support him or her all through life.
I am a CEO. I do not have a special parking place. I do not get bonuses. As a matter of fact, I haven’t had a paycheck in 12 years. My job description includes landscaping, house cleaning, accounting, shopping, and general clerical work. But my job-critical tasks are teaching, counseling, nurturing, and disciplining.
I am not always popular. But that’s okay because it is not part of my job to be popular. I am my Children’s Executive Officer.
I’ve been entrusted with raising three children to be adults. It’s not vitally important that they become successful in the way that we often define success—lots of money, fame, a specific career. But I do want them to succeed in the way Webster describes it, “to turn out well.”
I heard a mom say recently, “I don’t have time to discipline.” Of course we’ve all had moments when we’ve caved in. But a key part of helping my children to turn out well is to teach them that there are consequences for both good and bad behavior.
For instance, I was in the grocery store with my then 3-½ year old. He was in a phase of not wanting people to look at him. But how were these poor shoppers to know that! Of course, a woman looked at him and he stuck his tongue out at her. I asked him to apologize. He said no. I took the cookie out of his hand and again explained that that was not acceptable behavior and asked him to apologize. Nothing doing.
This saint of a woman, perhaps a veteran parent herself, patiently stood by supporting our Public Behavior 101 class. This went on and on for at least a couple of minutes until he finally apologized. I thanked her for her patience and turned my back from him to get some English muffins.
At that point he declared so the store could hear, “I don’t like you, Mom.” I turned back to him and calmly said, “You don’t have to like me, you just need to obey me.” The man stacking bread on the shelves said, “Wow, that’s good…. I like that.”
Discipline, which Webster describes in part as “to train or develop by instruction and exercise, especially in self-control” is a large part of parenting. It’s teaching your child to learn self-control, to accept responsibility for his actions, to think clearly, and make good choices.
I’ve realized that if I do too much of this for my children, they will not learn it for themselves. I often ask myself, how do you teach the children what is appropriate behavior? And the answer comes back, by behaving appropriately yourself. Every parent’s heart has soared when a child demonstrates what Mom or Dad has strived to teach. The same parents have cringed when they have seen or heard their little ones mimic their less than acceptable behavior. Is this the reason to despair and give up? Absolutely not; it should inspire us to do better.
Childhood needn’t be a boot camp. But it’s not a free-for-all either. There’s a balance to be found. My role is to help them be intelligent but not arrogant. I want them to be peacemakers, but not doormats. I want them to be good but not naïve, wise but not suspicious. I want them to be obedient but not subservient, patient but not apathetic. I want them to have respect for themselves. I want their presence in a room to bring light, not shadows.
I will retire some day from being a CEO. And it’s right that I do. There will come a time when my children will be adults—and executive officers of their own lives.
Jonatha Holland is a mother of three and lives in Carlisle, Mass. Article courtesy of Christian Science Monitor.
Marianne Neifert, M.D
My life has been devoted to children and families—my own, and those I’ve encountered in my career as a pediatrician. My first baby was born only a few months before I started medical school, and my fifth child arrived seven years later, on the final day of my pediatric residency. These two paths—medicine and motherhood—have been inextricably intertwined; they’ve often enhanced—and sometimes competed with—one another.
But over the years, as I’ve helped my own children journey into young adulthood and worked with countless families in my career, I’ve gained some hard-earned perspective and insights into raising kids. No parent will have all the answers all of the time, but these simple parenting guidelines can help make your time together as a family that much richer.
Provide unconditional love and encouragement
As her parent, you’re the first one to convince a child of her worth and help her venture into the world with confidence. You can make her feel cherished by giving her your time and attention daily, whether by reading a book, playing, or talking together. For instance, try to spend a little one-on-one time with your child when you get home, before you do anything else. After picking her toddler up at daycare, one mom I know uses the walk home as a way to reconnect. If she runs into friends, she’ll wave at them but won’t stop to chat; she’s learned that it frustrates her daughter too much.
Show your child that you value her by acknowledging her feelings, and by listening when she talks. It’s easy to let your mind wander as a toddler or preschooler babbles on, but kids are very good at picking up on when you’re distracted. Having a focused conversation with your child—rather than just responding with the occasional “Uh-huh”—builds up her vocabulary at the same time that it boosts her self-esteem.
The way you encourage your child is also important. By emphasizing her efforts (“You sure seemed to enjoy working on this picture for Grandma”) over her results (“I like the way you stayed inside the lines this time”), you’ll show support and foster self-approval, and make her less reliant on the acceptance of others.
And finally, the best way to encourage your child? Simply tell her that you love her as often as you can.
Make your child your highest priority
We all face enormous demands on our time, and our family life is always threatened by competing priorities, whether or not we work outside the home. But we have to learn to distinguish the important things, like spending time with our youngsters, from the urgent things, like ever-present project deadlines and chores. The truth is that in order to be an effective parent, you have to continually re-rank your priorities.
When I had my first four babies during college, medical school, and my internship, I breastfed each one. But I didn’t make it to the one-year mark, the ideal goal. It wasn’t until I made a conscious decision while I was pregnant with my fifth baby to put breastfeeding higher than other priorities that I succeeded. To do that, I had to say no to several opportunities—including taking over a busy practice—at the end of my residency training.
Putting your kids first doesn’t mean you have to be a martyr, or a superwoman. No one is saying that you can’t take time for yourself. But it does mean that sometimes you have to make choices. A hospital administrator I knew gave up her job to accept a less prestigious position so she could spend more time with her daughter. The turning point came as soon as her daughter’s preschool teacher told her, “Whenever Kaitlyn draws a family picture, you’re not in it.”
Strengthen your team
Generally speaking, moms act as the principal caretakers of immediate physical and emotional needs. Dads, on the other hand, tend to promote risk-taking and independence, and build self-reliance and assertiveness because they are more apt to let kids work out their problems by themselves.
Each of these responses—the security of knowing you have a nurturing home base and the space to figure out what you need—communicates an important message to your child and gives him the ability to handle whatever life throws at him. Thanks to my husband, my daughter Tricie learned to swim during one of our family vacations when she was 4. While he was busy encouraging her to go down the pool’s water slide, I was busy admonishing her to be careful.
The best way to start operating like a team is to agree with your partner on the big things—like what rules you’ll have and how to discipline—and then let each of you handle the day-to-day routines as you see fit. Moms, especially, must let go of the feeling that they know what’s best for their children. Otherwise, dads will always be consigned to the helper role.
What about single parents? Do everything you can to cultivate meaningful relationships with other loving adults, whether relatives or trusted role models, like teachers and scout leaders. And, as hard as it may be sometimes, it’s important for divorced parents to work together with an ex-spouse so their child doesn’t feel like he has to choose between them. If your ex is out of the picture or unable to give emotional support, be honest about the circumstances, and help your child work through his grief.
The best way to help teach your child to distinguish right from wrong is by setting clear limits and enforcing them consistently. If you feel as though you’re slipping into a power struggle, step back: Give your child a time-out or simply tell her you’ll deal with her in a few minutes—and don’t decide on a punishment until you’re more calm.
When she does break the rules, respond in a way that won’t deal a blow to her self-esteem: Ignore attention-getters like whining; give a brief warning or scolding for minor infractions (such as jumping on the furniture); issue an age-appropriate time-out to stop aggressive or antisocial behavior (like biting and hitting); and use logical consequences, such as putting their toys aside for a day whenever your kids fight over them.
But discipline isn’t just a question of punishment. It’s also about modeling positive behavior—like remembering to say “please” and “thank you” to teach your child the value of manners—and praising her when she’s been cooperative and helpful. By spending extra time with your child, you can minimize whining and other misbehaviors triggered by a need for attention.
One of the best gifts you can give your child is to help him understand that he’s responsible for the choices he makes as well as the consequences of his actions, and ultimately, his own happiness. The first step toward building self-reliance: Offer your child choices that are right for his age. Toddlers are capable of picking what they want for breakfast or which shirt to wear (as long as you give them two choices). A three-year-old can also pitch in and do simple chores—helping you pick up toys or unload the dishwasher, for instance. Delegating these tasks not only lets your preschooler make a contribution to your household, but teaches him accountability.
The next step: Encourage your child to tackle new skills, like riding a trike or reading a story aloud. If he makes mistakes, let him work through them instead of rushing in to fix things. You’ll promote a sense of competence, and he’ll learn to weigh consequences before acting.
When he faces inevitable setbacks and failures, help him discover how to look for solutions rather than view such obstacles as beyond his control. If your toddler cries when another child takes his toy, for example, say, “Let’s go see if she’ll give it back.” Or if your preschooler tells you he has no friends, you can show him, through role-playing, ways to ask other kids to play, or together invite someone to come visit.
Lastly, encourage your child to think, even if his opinions differ from your own. You’ll free him from a fear of disapproval that will make him less dependent on others for his happiness.
Use routines to create a sense of togetherness
Family rituals and familiar patterns provide kids with a sense of security. Little children are reassured by knowing that their morning outing—whether to the park or the library—is followed by lunch, or that naptime will come after story time. School-age kids also look forward to predictable shared events, such as eating dinner together or spending time with Dad on weekends. These routines increase your child’s perception of control, which in turn increases her confidence.
Traditions also provide the social glue that bonds one generation to another, creating many of the special “anchor” memories within a family. In my own case, I hosted a multigenerational Thanksgiving reunion for years that gave our children both a strong family identity and sense of connection to their past.
Take time to recharge
You know the adage: “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Chronic sleep deprivation, isolation, and self-neglect can leave a parent physically depleted, emotionally discouraged, and, ultimately, ineffective. So give yourself permission to take a break—to renew your perspective, enthusiasm, sense of humor, and energy. That may mean an afternoon off to visit a friend or go to a movie. Or it may be as simple as learning to ask for what you need, and accepting help from others.
I once met a woman who had lost her mother, but whose mother-in-law had become like a second mom to her. She explained that the older woman had helped her raise her children and preserved her marriage. “I never could have done it without her support,” the woman insisted. Her mother-in-law just smiled and modestly acknowledged, “Everybody needs somebody to steady things up.”
“That’s it!” I thought, as a virtual parade of helpers flashed through my mind—individuals who had steadied things up for my husband, Larry, and me when we were overwhelmed with responsibility for five children. In fact, we were aided every step of the way by the experience and generosity of grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters, teachers, coaches, pastors, neighbors, and friends. On many occasions, Larry and I enjoyed a night out, and even a weekend getaway, because we had asked someone, and someone had agreed to stay with our kids. And we were then better able to take care of our children because we had taken care of ourselves.
Marianne Neifert, M.D. is the author of three books, most recently Dr. Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding.
Article from http://living.msn.com/family-parenting/parenting-tips/article?_skipscp=true&cp-documentid=31973647. Photo copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Though kids don’t mean to mess up our schedules, dawdling is their way of feeling in control and getting us to focus on them. What’s the solution? If you can give a little to meet your child’s needs, you’ll gain a lot towards meeting yours-and it won’t even take that much time. Here are ten five-minute strategies that will make a difference between misery and motivation.
1. Be understanding: Acknowledge that what your child is doing is important to her. Tell her, “I wish we had more time to play with your dolls. It looks like fun. But right now, your friends are waiting for you at school.”
2. Remove obstacles: Sometimes kids dawdle because they feel overwhelmed. If it takes your child forever to choose a bedtime story, clear the bookcase of titles she never asks for. That way, she can focus on a few favorites. Disorganization is another roadblock. If your seven-year-old is always running late because she can’t find her homework or her sneakers, help her pack her bag the night before and put it by the door.
3. Give a warning: Children cannot stop what they’re doing on a dime. Being able to anticipate an event helps them switch gears. A gentle reminder that your child has five more minutes before having to put his blocks away won’t elicit an “Oh goody,” but it’s far less upsetting than being told he has to drop everything right now.
If a reminder doesn’t work, let an egg timer do the dirty work for you. Tell your child that you’re setting the timer for five minutes. When the bell goes off, it’s time to wrap up the activity. If your child protests, remain firm: “I know you’d like to color longer, but the bell rang. Time’s up.”
4. Play beat the clock: For younger children, use the timer to race against time. Tell your toddler or preschooler: “I bet you can’t wash your face, get into your PJs and get under the covers before the timer goes off!” Chances are, he’ll try to get everything done in no time flat.
5. Turn it into a game. Connecting with your child’s playful side is likely to be more successful than issuing ultimatums. One mother I know plays department store in the morning to avoid a half-hour delay while her four-year-old mulls over what to wear. She pretends to be a saleslady, helping her daughter pick out that day’s outfit and admiring how she looks in it.
One mother joked that her son was “surgically attached” to his train set. Getting him to leave it inevitably turned into a power struggle, until she hit upon a lighthearted approach. “When we have to go out, I say, ‘Joe, tell your trains you’ll be right back.’ It works really well. He waves goodbye and reassures his trains that he’ll play again soon.”
6. Offer options: Let’s say your two-year-old doesn’t want to stop watching a video, even though the family needs to go out. Tell him that there are two ways to get to the car: hopping on one foot or being carried by you. When you involve him, you have a better chance of transforming your slowpoke into Sir Speedy.
7. Be positive. Instead of making threats about what will happen if your child doesn’t get moving, focus on the good stuff that will happen when she kicks into gear. You could say, “Once we get into the car, we’ll play your favorite tape,” or “As soon as you get into your pajamas, I’ll read you a story.”
8. Get them involved. Kids love to feel needed and capable, which can work to your advantage. To get a poky preschooler out the door, ask her to help you load the car. If your child resists taking a bath, ask for her help in choosing water toys. Once she’s invested in the activity, she’ll be more willing to climb in the tub.
9. Turn the tables. Let your child be the one to get you going. Instead of trying to roust your five-year-old son out of bed every morning, one mother bought him his own alarm clock and instructed him to wake her up when it went off. As soon as her son felt as if he was in charge, he stopped dragging his feet. Another way to put your child in charge is to have her check the weather each morning and tell you whether it’s a “sweater day” or a “coat day”—then she’s more likely to get dressed without a fuss.
10. Go with the flow. Once in a while, put your agenda on hold. Instead of hurrying your child home from the park, let her swing until she says it’s time to go. If you occasionally let your child set the pace, she’s more likely to cooperate when your plans don’t mesh with hers.
There’s another advantage to letting your child’s inner clock rule. When you take the time to count flower petals or follow a ladybug, you see the world through your child’s eyes—and you may discover that it’s a pretty nice view.