If you want your children to cooperatre and listen to you the first time around, then try this skill first!
Why? Well.... because it works.. no matter the age of the child, and in nearly all situations.
It's clever, it's fair, it's emotionally intelligent, and creates connection between you and your child.
Getting children to sleep in their own beds, and to fall asleep on their own is one of the most frequent topics that comes up between parents.
And although each family has their own theory about this, there are general things you can do to support the implementation of YOUR choice.
The most strategic and intelligent way to resolve this is to find ways to give your child what they are needing, but on your terms, and according to your timeline. So a win-win scenario.
This lesson looks at examples of how you can implement some of these ideas.
"My son gives up when an activity starts becoming difficult... how can I support him persevere?"
You may have mixed emotions when you see your child struggling with an activity. Discomfort, irritation, frustration, empathy, and at times your heart goes out to them when you can see they are giving their all.
And then they want to give up!
But what can you do to keep them persevering, even when it gets tough? What words can you say that will keep them going?
- How do I get a 5 year old to step out of her comfort zone and take on new challenges that may be scary for her?
- How can I increase the emotional intelligence of my child?
- How do I create a mind set for my child of one of 'success'?
- Going horse back riding over night: 6 hours on horse
- Ziplining by herself over trees and the canyon
- Caving underground with bats and spiders
- Facing a nervous mother Rhino
On a recent trip to Swaziland, I took on the challenge of doing just that. Here is a video clip of achieving those goals.
The social skill of taking turns is one that takes time, patience and many long faces to develop. On this day, we had our play-dough table nestled up against the wall and only two seats for the children to sit at.
After about ½ an hour, some children came up to me complaining that they wanted a turn at the table. I asked them if they had spoken to the other two at the table and they said that they had. I thought that it was that time again to start developing sharing skills.
“Okay guys, we have two children playing dough and another two who would like to play. What shall we do?”
Both parties voiced that they each wanted to play. We were heading towards a system of time allocation when another child (5yrs old) who was standing nearby piped up and said.
“I have a good idea. Why don’t they move the table away from the wall and put another two chairs on the other side, then all four children can sit at the table?”
My mouth hung open for a while till I said, “That sounds like a good idea. What do you all think?” The children agreed and they organised themselves.
As I was walking away from the table I mentioned to the idea-giver, “Ashwyn, that was a good idea. You thought a lot about how they could solve their problem. Now they can all play together.”
He responded, “I know, I have lots of good ideas. And I have lots more at home.”
After having attended the session on Supporting Independence, I realised that I was very nervous about my daughter Mishqa choosing her own clothes.
How would she know what colours to fit together and what style to wear? The next day I laid out two tops for her to choose. She went off to school quite proud and happy about herself.
Soon after I gave her a greater choice and on one occasion she chose something that I didn’t think would go well with the pants she would wear. So I asked her why she chose the other top and she replied that the previous one would not go well with her shoes.
I realised she was right and from then on I decided she knew what she was doing. Now I am the proud one as I see she has really good taste of what clothes to wear.
During one of our workshops on Supporting Independence, we were brainstorming the qualities we would like to instill in our children. After going through all obvious ones of independence, tolerance, respect, caring etc, a father put in as an after thought, “I would like my children to feel sexy in the sense of them feeling good about themselves.”
We all chuckled at this and wondered how we could develop this sense in our children. A week later a mother came in with this story:
“My child was diagnosed with global developmental delay. At four she had the mentality of a two year old and at eight years old I still treat her like a four year old. I resent the fact that my daughter “expects” me to dress her.
Just recently I decided to get up earlier. I put out 2 sets of clothes and told Tasneem to choose one and then sat watching her while she proceeded to dress herself.
Okay, so the pants weren’t on straight, the buttons not 100%, but Tasneem was so obviously proud of her achievement, that I found myself being naturally encouraging, regardless of the time factor.
Soon I gave her the option of choosing her own clothes from the cupboard. I was sitting in the living room when in she walked, stood in front of my family and myself and said, “Look at me everyone. I’m sexy.”
In my pre-school class I constantly get children coming to ask me to do things for them. I have found the skill of respecting their struggle really helpful and it seems to give them courage to continue finding an alternate way. Take for example….
Megan: “Robin, I can’t make this heart.”
Robin: “Mmm, it can be quite tricky cutting out along those lines. It looks like those lines are really small. Maybe we can make a plan. What can we do to make those lines easier to see?”
Megan: “Maybe we can draw them again, with a big crayon.”
After having completed the heart and having regained self-confidence and pride, Ryan comes to complain about the same problem.
Robin: “It looks like these hearts are difficult to cut out. Megan came up with a good plan. Perhaps you can ask her to show you her plan.”
With that Ryan asks Megan for her idea and Megan beams with pride as she shows Ryan her idea and how it worked. Through this situation Megan has learnt that she has good ideas and that the children can help each other in solving problems. As the teacher I shifted the responsibility back to the children and they grow from the experience.
- How do you know if you are overprotecting your children?
- How much risk is a good thing?
- Can risking something turn into a good thing?
A great quote says, "many a one has succeeded only because he has failed after repeated efforts. If he had never met defeat, he would never have known any great victory.'
Every time we try to protect our children from possible failure or rejection, we simultaneously deny them the possibility of succeeding, of persevering, and of accomplishing their dreams.
We nearly always regret what we don't do, and are grateful for the learning from what we do.
If you keep living your life as you are currently doing so now.... and you get to the age of 90, what will you look back on and regret?
Nearly all of us regret what we don't do. Rarely do with regret what we do as each mistake becomes a learning and every experience holds meaning.
Make sure your regrets of what you didn't do don't end up as weights on the shoulders of your chidlren because you didn't follow your own dreams first.
And if your biggest wish is that your children are happy and follow their dreams, you will need to set that example for them.