The Kid Pro:
Living With Children

Positive Parenting for Today

Dolores V. Reig, M.S. Ed.

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Tips and Techniques
1.  When you know a child is about to misbehave, give permission in advance for the child to do it. 

Of course, this assumes that the misbehavior is something you can tolerate and presents no danger to the child or anyone else.

For example:  When you know a child is about to refuse or at least give you a hard time about putting toys away, give “permission”.  Tell the child “It’s OK if you want to wait until you are ready to put your toys away, you don’t have to do it right now.”  The key is to follow through by adding, “We can wait here until you are ready.”  Then give the child the “illusion of choice”:  “Would you like me to help you clean up or would you like to show me how you do it all by yourself?”

The fact that the child is having a hard time in the first place is telling you that he or she may be overwhelmed by the prospect of having to put what may seem to be a massive quantity of items away.  You might try limiting the amount of toys so that they seem more manageable to a young child.

Also, saying to a young child, “Put your toys away”, will not have the same impact as saying, “Put all the Lego pieces away in the big blue box with the handles and the toy trucks on the yellow shelf with the fire truck.”  She may not be any more inclined to clean up after herself, but her mind will be processing the language in a far more interesting way!

2.  Going to the supermarket or the mall with a young child can often be an exercise in frustration and annoyance. 

Young children have a limited attention span and do not find shopping as interesting or necessary as you might.  Be ready in advance for a potential “melt down”.  Have some tasty snacks ready to surprise a hungry child, a favorite toy the child has not seen for a while, or a drink if he or she may be thirsty.  

If all else fails, and you find yourself at the check out without the option of leaving, a screaming child in the shopping cart or stroller, and every available adult staring at you thinking loudly, “bad parent, bad parent” or at least it seems that way to you, take a deep breath, smile, glance lovingly at your child, then look at the nearest disapproving adult and say, “She’s soooooo tired!” and smile lovingly at your child again. 

Then hurry up and finish so you can get out of there and give your child the positive attention he or she needs.

Children deserve the best from us and sometimes get the worst. 
We can’t do our best all the time, so let’s just try to do
the best we can, whenever we can.
By the way, anger directed at your child at any point can be self-defeating! 
Remember, you are helping this child learn how to behave,
not punishing him or her for not yet knowing.

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