Ring in the new good habits in your little ones this New Year.
Do you know the naughty neighbourhood child who pulls the dog’s ears and treats your favourite childhood book with complete disrespect?
They may jump on your pristine Sofa, or pluck a painstakingly grown rose – all while the adoring parent looks on and insists that their child is ‘spirited’ or looks helpless and attempts to curb the behaviour with little success.
While everyone has those days when a child acts out and is not on their best behaviour, indiscipline can create problems later on in life and it is part of the job- description of a parent to inculcate lifetime good habits.
The younger you start building those good habits, the better it is.
- Have clear rules. Parents need to first have rules that they must enforce as a unit. Rules can be simple like brushing teeth first thing in the morning or clearing the plate of food with no waste. The care givers must agree on the rules and should be consistent about enforcing them.
- Early bird specials. - A young chick is more open to learning than an older bird. Start young. Toddlers may not know the words, but can understand expressions of courtesy. A warm good morning wish accompanied by a smile everyday will eventually lead to return good mornings. Thank you and please are still magic words that smooth out life’s little bumps.
- Acknowledge your child’s achievements – If you see your child attempting to do something positive, be sure you acknowledge it. Even for very young children, feedback makes a great difference.
- Positive thoughts. To a young child, their care givers are the extent of their world and they pick up on the moods and emotions of the adults around them. Stay positive and your child is more likely to reflect that positivity back at you and learn what you are trying to teach.
- Do as I do – Kids almost always model themselves on what they see happening around themselves. How often have you seen little kids try on their parents’ shoes or make up, or pretend to go to office in a cute imitation of a parent? If you communicate by shouting, so will they; no matter what you tell then through words. If you are polite to people, they too will imitate you. Be who you want your child to become.
- Exposure to good influences – You can read to children even before they are born. A lifetime love of reading starts with the very young even though they might not understand the meanings of words at that point. Expose them to good music, good and healthy eating, neatness and hygiene.
- Be firm and consistent - Even very young children understand when they can get away with a tantrum or bad behaviour. All care givers must follow the same rules and do it in the same way. Also do it each time. If you are firm on one occasion and lackadaisical the next, they will be confused and less likely to follow the rules.
Love is however the most powerful and important thing in our lives. So as Bill Ayers says, “Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.”
Every parent wishes that their child have the best of everything. New Year resolutions that one makes for oneself often end up dusty on the shelf. This year, you can resolve to be the best role model for your child and inculcate the best values and habits to help them lead happy, successful, productive lives as adults. As you teach our wonderful miniature human beings, watch yourself break out of the old habits and build new ones for yourselves as well.
Shumee wishes you a very happy, healthy, successful, wonderful new year!
So do not get too stressed about raising perfect the perfect child. Just spend time with kids and you will figure it out. Playing with them, getting active with them is one way to teach them lifelong fitness habits, eating healthy yourself will demonstrate the need to eat well. Polite interactions will encourage politeness and courtesy.