child development, Child's Education, Relationships

4 Effective ways to Get Your Kids to Stop Whining

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It’s irritating, it’s frustrating and it gets on your last nerve. Though it’s obnoxious and unacceptable, it’s actually effective for your child to get your attention. It’s whining. But, like other bad habits, you can nip it in the bud early with a few simple strategies to teach your child there are other appropriate, effective forms of communicating with you.

  1.  First, try limiting the situations that trigger it. Avoid extra errands when the kids are hungry.  Don’t let them get involved in a frustrating game or project prior to bedtime. Pay attention when your child is talking, as sometimes whining is a reaction when a child feels you aren’t giving them your full attention. Praise them for not whining and talking in a normal and understandable voice that allows you to fully understand what they are saying to you.
  2.  When the whining begins, don’t overreact. Keep your response simple, calm and neutral.  Ask your child to repeat the request in a normal tone. When giving in seems inevitable, don’t delay. If you must finish the grocery shopping so you can put dinner on the table, for instance, and your child starts whining for a snack, offer something healthy right away.
  3. Once a limit has been set, parents should follow through. It’s imperative that both parents are on board with this limit and fully follow through when the whining rule has been violated.
  4. If you have an older child that’s developing a whining habit, suggest they come up with a solution to their perceived boredom or other voiced problem.  If you suggest possible alternatives, it might just prolong the child’s whining.

Sometimes whining can be the result of trauma and trouble in their life. A divorce, serious family illness or problems at school may be at the root.  Additional positive attention and quality one-on-one time may be just the medicine your child needs at a time like this. Your pediatrician can also suggest alternatives to curb whining should the positive attention and disciplinary actions be ineffective.


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child development, family time

Chores Can Help your Child Learn about Teamwork and a Strong Work Ethic

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Chores can help develop a sense of responsibility and self worth in your child.  It should be understood by all family members they are expected and necessary to a household running successfully and efficiently.  They can help create a sense of unity and family and is a great place for your child to learn about teamwork. Parents should take special care to handle the delegation of chores to children so they don’t become a source of frustration or create arguments.

Allow your child to have an active say in the delegation of chores.  Give them choices. We all have household chores that we don’t like to do, but if it’s a chore the child enjoys doing then there’s less likelihood it will create a battle in the end.  The child will most likely appreciate having the chance to be heard and having a choice.

It’s imperative that you set parameters early on for the successful completion of a chore.  They may not perform up to snuff when they first start performing the chore, but show them where improvement is needed and praise them for a strong effort.  Also make sure the child understands there will be repercussions if they only put forth a minimal effort. Ensure the child understands the need for the chore’s effective and efficient completion. Set consequences for substandard completion as a team.  Make sure they see that if they don’t perform their chores, it affects the other members of the team. Spouses must work together and be a strong example for their children by completing their own chores each day. And don’t allow a child to undermine your authority by battling with you over a designated chore.  Stand your ground and don’t give in, and emphasize the consequence and negative effect an uncompleted chore has on the family.

And keep an open mind when a child wants to discuss their thoughts or express their opinions about chores.  Make sure the conversation stays positive and on target.


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child development, child safety, family conflict, Relationships

The Importance of Crystal-Clear Rules for your Child

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The world is a far more scary and complicated place than it was when you were a child.  As a result, it’s imperative that you set adequate yet fair boundaries with your child.  It’s a very important role in your parenting responsibilities. Children must make difficult decisions each day, and if they don’t have clear, firm boundaries set, they may not always make the wisest choice. Limits teach children proper restraint in social and individual activities and provide children with necessary structure and security to assist in healthy development. Setting limits also provide children with guidance before they have an opportunity to get into trouble, thus making them more successful with everyday life.

A child’s age and developmental level needs to be considered when setting limits. All children have a need for independence and individualization; however, they also need structure, security and parental involvement.

It goes without saying that the needs of a 2-year old vary greatly than those of a teenager. A toddler has a strong desire to explore and investigate, but parameters need to be set to ensure their safety while doing so. Teenagers need to be able to be an individual and be independent, but with strong parental guidance and influence, are more likely to make smart choices in difficult situations.

Limits should be discussed and set prior to the situation. Though situations arise that weren’t planned on, daily situations should have set limits and expectations. A teenager who breaks curfew may have the privilege of going out with friends revoked until they learn respect for the rules.  A child who misbehaves while playing with a friend may need to be separated from the fun until they can learn to properly behave.

Children respond in a positive manner in an environment in which they know what to expect and what is excepted of them. A child will be more respectful towards rules and more willing to abide by them if the rules are clear and consistent. 

Additionally, it’s crucial that once a limit is set that they caregiver stick to it.  A child is less likely to try and manipulate a caregiver into changing the limits when their experience has been that there’s no bending on the limits.   And remember, you are the one who sets the limits and lays down the law.  There’s no need to argue with your child.  Be firm and consistent and they are less likely to challenge the rules and will accept the consequences.


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child development, Relationships

Successful Two-Way Communications with your Child

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One of the most frustrating challenges we face as parents is communicating effectively with our child. Though we strive to open an honest two-way line of communication with our child, we become frustrated when it appears their attention isn’t solely on us or the conversation at hand.  Yet we seem to find it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss things with them while reading the paper, folding clothes, or working on the computer and then are often left wondering when the lines of communication broke.

Children are by nature easily distracted and not always responsive to their environment. It is the responsibility of the parent to emphasize positive patterns of communication and ensure the child learns that ignoring communication is not acceptable. Early prevention, in the form of educating your child about the proper forms of communication, is the key to ensuring that the non-verbal agreement does not take hold.  Teach your child by example.  Remain completely and totally focused on them and the conversation at hand.  Turn off the television; allow calls to go to the voicemail, or go in a room where there are no distractions.

Talk to your child, and explain to them in age-appropriate terms how they are communicating and why their method doesn’t work.  Show your child how to communicate effectively, even when the questions are hard.

Make yourself an active listener.  Let them voice their opinion or side of the story and ask questions to ensure you understand their viewpoint.

Be constant in the manner in which you communicate with you child. Send the same message with each and every interaction. Allow your child to see that you will call their attention to those times that the unwanted behavior rears its ugly head.

Kids will be kids and they will sometimes be distractive and non-communicative. You are the expert in knowing your child’s behavior and can best judge the improvement in their communications. The best way to ensure healthy communication patterns is to model positive communication skills.

 

child development, Relationships

Protect your Child’s Emotional Well-Being

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In our effort to balance very full and hectic lives with our families and our jobs, we may have been neglecting an all-important facet of our child’s life:  their emotional well-being.  The first three years of a child’s life is a critical time for a child, and the trauma of changing child care providers or having a ‘part-time’ parent float in and out of their life can be very traumatic and destabilizing for them.  It’s imperative that parents, educators, involved adults and care providers make a concerted joint effort to ensure that a child’s emotional needs are met on a daily basis, just as their physical needs are.  The effects of not meeting a child’s emotional needs, especially during the first three years of life, can have devastating consequences. Violent, disruptive or defiant behaviors can result.

The first three years of life are critical in a number of ways. This is when bonding and emotional separation takes place.  If there are interruptions in either of these processes, misbehaviors from the child can result. This can later have an affect on their relationships later in life and hinder them in developing their own healthy relationships as adolescents or adults.

During the first three years of life, the brain goes through its most rapid development ever, the likes of which will never been experienced again. By the time they are three years old, a child’s brain is already ‘hardwired’ from the experiences they’ve had to that point.

It’s imperative that these be loving, supportive, safe, positive experiences so the brain will be conditioned to expect positive things.  If they’ve been frightening, hurtful, abusive, or dangerous, then the brain is conditioned to expect negative occurrences.

Therefore it’s critical that parents, caregivers and other involved adults make a concerted effort to make sure the child’s emotional needs are met in a positive, constructive and healthy manner.  Parents should ensure that the child’s care providers are stable and consistent, and don’t move them around to different childcare providers during this important phase. Ensure a child feels safe and secure with structured and consistent schedules and routines.  Be sure to spend as much quality time with your child at this time as possible, regardless of your otherwise busy and hectic lifestyle.  A child can sense that such a schedule is stressful to you and it can become a frightening or confusing element for them.  Therefore it’s important to take time out to reassure them that you’re never too busy for them.

Remember that your child’s emotional well-being is just as important as their physical, so do your part to ensure your child knows he’s growing up safe, secure, treasured and loved.