Childs Mental HealthMay 14, 2018
Nurturing Gratitude in ChildrenJune 5, 2018
An atmosphere of family affection, open communication, and positive parental role modelling is the basic foundation for raising well-disciplined children. The next layer of child discipline involves preventing misbehaviour before it happens. Basically, this means that parents need to help children to understand appropriate family rules and what is expected of them and to encourage children's positive behaviour and conformity with the rules. Following points explain us how-
- Parents should be sure that young children are equipped with the necessary physical, mental, and emotional tools needed to follow the rules. As parents create house or family rules, they should keep in mind that children will not necessarily be able to understand the rules as adults do because of children's lack of cognitive sophistication. For most preschool-aged children, rules need to be simple, short, and concrete. A few examples of house rules appropriate for preschool-aged children are, "Treat other people kindly," "Pick up your toys before bed" and "Brush your teeth before school and before bed".
- Whenever possible, family rules should be phrased as positive statements rather than as a list of prohibited behaviours. For example, instead of saying, "Do not lie" parents can say instead, "Always tell the truth." Furthermore, parents should help children understand the rules by repeatedly explaining them using various different methods of explanation.
- Young children need lots of visual and verbal reminders about rules, as they don't yet have the skill of internalizing expectations mastered. To make the rules clearer for children, it can be useful to illustrate them on a colourful and attention-grabbing poster that is displayed within the house. For children this age who cannot read, parents can create drawings or put photos beside the rules to depict the expectations (pairing photos with a written description of behaviours may also encourage reading skills).
- Another way to help young children remember and follow the rules is to create a behaviour reinforcement chart, sometimes called a sticker chart. This chart is typically created in the form of a simple grid. Each row of the left side of the grid lists family rules, either in words or pictures. The days of the week are listed at the top of each grid, one to a column. Each day that goes by, children can earn a sticker for each rule they successfully follow, the sticker being placed at the intersection between the appropriate day column and rule row. Sticker charts are effective for several reasons. First, young children generally find it fun and rewarding to get a colourful sticker. Second, the chart can help encourage children to remember the rules. Finally, a chart can spark some healthy competition between siblings about who can more closely follow the rules and earn the most stickers.
- Children should be rewarded for following house rules and complying with parental expectations. If at all possible, the reward should follow immediately after the good behaviour (prompt pairing of a reward with a behaviour has an increased likelihood of ensuring that the child will behave similarly in the future). The reward need not be large or even something tangible. A heartfelt smile and a verbal comment noting that the child has behaved well and that the behaviour is appreciated should do it. Praise phrases such as, "Good job!" are useful in this regard. Parents should also point out exactly what positive behaviours they appreciate.