Clucking anxiously about how worried you are as he climbs that play structure may make you feel better, and it may impress the other parents on the playground with your attentiveness, but it won't help your child. In fact, it limits him. Just ask if he is keeping himself safe, then stand by and spot him. Smile proudly. Emotional development researchers call this "scaffolding," which could be defined as the framework you give your child on which she builds. You demonstrate how to do something, or you use words to suggest a strategy, or you simply spot her.
This assistance helps her to succeed when she tries something new, and small successes achieved with your help give her the confidence to try new things herself. Scaffolding also teaches children that help is always available if they need it. You want your kids to know that deep in their bones before they hit adolescence.
Offer structure to help him succeed. Should you step in when you see failure ahead, or "let him learn a lesson"? Always a hard call.
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Rescuing children can prevent them from learning important lessons. But research shows that children who see their parents stand by and let them fail experience that as not being loved. Instead of learning the lesson that they should have practiced that clarinet, or read the directions on that science kit, they learn the lesson that they are failures, that they cannot manage themselves, and that their parents did not care enough to help them not be failures or teach them to manage themselves. That all depends on how it's done.
If you take over the science fair project and do half of it the night before it's due, that's worse than rescuing: not only does your son learn that you will bail him out if he goofs off, he learns that he is incompetent. But if you help him each step of the way to organize his ideas and his work, BUT resist the impulse to improve on the project yourself, he completes the job, hugely proud, and having learned something about how to plan and execute a complex project.
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All humans need encouragement. Encouraging your child not only keeps him feeling more positive and motivated, it also gives him an inner voice that will help him to encourage himself for the rest of his life. Give your child maxims to repeat as mantras when the going gets tough. When your son goofs a piece on the piano and has to start over, or your daughter strikes out with the bases loaded, they need an automatic internal comforting voice to encourage and motivate them. Otherwise the harsh criticizing voice steps in, triggered by the disappointment.
You must feel so good that you finished that! Your goal is for her to keep trying, practicing, improving, and for her to learn that when she works hard, she can accomplish her goals. Whatever you model, your child will learn and will emulate. Positive self-talk has been shown to improve our ability to master difficult tasks, unlike the self-disparaging comments many of us so automatically make.
Most parents know better than to say "What an idiot! Just train yourself not to do it. It certainly isn't good for you, either. Would you let anyone else talk to you that way? When your child encounters frustration, remember that your empathy will be a critical factor in his overcoming it. Instead of automatically jumping in to remove the source of the frustration, give it a larger context by communicating your compassion that he has to encounter this circumstance:.
It's okay for children to get frustrated and to be disappointed. Your child may cry and sulk all day, but your unconditional understanding will help her grieve. That's how children develop resilience. Parents are often told that frustration is good for kids, since the world will be full of frustrations. That's a bit like saying that it's a cold, cruel world so your child should learn to sleep without blankets.
Your child will naturally develop the ability to handle increasing amounts of frustration and anxiety as he attempts more difficult challenges. But those frustrations are inherent in growing up and are guaranteed aplenty in life.
You might elicit the information as I did with my three year old Alice that she's afraid she'll go down the drain, like Alice in the song. It may not seem like a good reason to you, but she has a reason. And you won't find it out if you get into a clash and order her into the tub. For instance, he may be angry because you promised to wash his superman cape and then forgot. To you, he is being stubborn.
To him, he is justifiably upset, and you are being hypocritical, because he is not allowed to break his promises to you, but you broke yours to him. How do you clear this up and move on? You apologize sincerely for breaking your promise, you reassure him that you try very hard to keep your promises, and you go, together, to wash the cape. You might even teach him how to wash his own clothes so you're not in this position in the future and he's empowered.
Just consider how would you want to be treated, and treat him accordingly. Kids don't learn when they're in the middle of a fight.
Pushing the Boundaries: How to Lovingly Enforce Discipline at Home
Like all of us, that's when adrenaline is pumping and learning shuts off. Kids behave because they want to please us. The more you fight with and punish your child, the more you undermine her desire to please you. If she's upset, help her express her hurt, fear or disappointment, so they evaporate. Then she'll be ready to listen to you when you remind her that in your house, everyone speaks kindly to each other. Of course, you have to model that. Your child won't always do what you say, but she will always, eventually, do what you do.
Most strong-willed children are fighting for respect. If you offer it to them, they don't need to fight to protect their position. And, like the rest of us, it helps a lot if they feel understood.
If you see his point of view and think he's wrong—for instance, he wants to wear the superman cape to church and you think that's inappropriate — you can still offer him empathy and meet him part way while you set the limit. But when we go to services we dress up to show respect, so we can't wear the cape. I know you'll miss wearing it. How about we take it with us so you can wear it on our way home? Does this sound like Permissive Parenting?
It isn't. You set limits. But you set them with understanding of your child's perspective, which makes her more cooperative. By Dr.
Parenting Preschoolers with Positive Discipline at Mission Montessori in San Francisco, CA
Laura Markham, founder of AhaParenting. This article was originally published on AhaParenting. Laura Markham, is the founder of AhaParenting. The holidays are quickly on their way, and while there are tons of ways to celebrate, you should feel free to get a little creative with it and make your own traditions there's no law requiring you to dress everyone in matching red velvet jumpers to sit on Santa's lap.
So instead of battling between getting the perfect picture and your baby's natural urge to wiggle, harness the power of those inevitable Hallmark moments—the first giggle, the budding personality, the two-toothed grin—to make your December super special. Decorating the tree is a beloved tradition, and having a little one is all the more reason to get into the spirit of it. Get the baby—and the rest of the family—involved in the fun by letting everyone color or paint on an unbreakable, homemade ornament and hang them towards the bottom of the tree.
And sure, your infant may not create any masterpieces at this age, but not only will the precious family heirlooms stay higher up read: away from tiny hands , you'll also be creating keepsakes to build on for years to come. Connecting your children to the spirit of the season is an important part of teaching them what it's all about, but it's not always so easy to do through books and stories alone. Instead, offer them the chance to live it out! Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or another significant holiday, playing pretend is the ideal way to teach and have fun along the way for everyone in the family.
Use a kid-friendly nativity book as a guide or make your own menorah as you explore the story of the oil that burned for 8 nights—whatever your religion, there's an important tale to tell. There is joy in receiving physical mail and holiday cards are a wonderful way to make your loved ones feel special.
But don't stop there! Record a video greeting to send to your nearest and dearest to keep even the most far-away relatives feel like they're right there with you. Everyone will love seeing the baby's latest milestones in live-action, and it's a great way to spread the season's warmest greetings. Making and maintaining a baby book is a fabulous idea, but sometimes keeping it up-to-date gets lost in the shuffle of parenthood.
Use the holiday season as a time to reconnect with all those beloved memories for your kiddo by starting an annual time capsule box: Each year, have all members of the family add one item of their choosing or your choosing, depending on age to the box and label it with a little note. Things can range from a favorite holiday-themed blanket or toy to something they no longer need but aren't ready to throw away. Nothing says "cozy" like a yummy-smelling kitchen filled with laughter.
While your tot may still be too small to really help in the kitchen, it's never too early to kickstart their love of cooking.
Pick a recipe you'll make every year and get them "involved" with a spoon and an empty mixing bowl. You'll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor together and it'll help encourage them to cook with you more year-round, too. We all know that as babies grow up—independence is a priority, no matter how ready for it we really are.
This year, give them the gift of being in charge.