Keeping Rules and Expectations Consistent when you have Guests

Note:  This week I will be re-posting an earlier blog.  I feel that the topics covered will especially help families during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Good Afternoon,

Today I will be talking about hosting guests at your house.  I remember when I was growing up…if we were bad under normal circumstances, we would get the “usual” punishment, but if we were bad when we had guests or were guests, the punishment was so much worse.  I knew the second my mom made “that face…” I was doomed.  I am laughing as I write this, just thinking about my parents and how mean I thought they were.  A little fun turned into a lot of trouble pretty quickly.

Below are some basics for preparing your kids to host guests, whether it be their friends, out-of-town family, or your boss.  The ideas here cover families with kids ranging from toddler to school age.  Use the ideas that best apply to your family.  While I understand that you have had guests in your home before now, a quick reminder is always nice on how to handle talking with your kids about hosting guests.  If you are struggling in this area, now is the perfect time to institute some of the below before the holidays.

Communication
Obviously you want to let your children know that you are having guests.  Start by telling them who is coming.  If it is someone they do not know, tell them how you know this person.  Talk to them about what it means to have guests.  This means talking about the expectations of their behavior, including how they act, where they play, and what they say.  If there are other kids coming remind them of the importance of sharing their toys.  Give them feedback throughout the evening about how they are doing.

Consistency
If you have followed this blog at all you should by now see a common theme: consistency.  Above all else, the rules should not change no matter what.  It ultimately does not matter who is at your house.  If your kids break the rules, follow through with the usual punishment.  Many parents, like mine, even increase the punishment when there are guests at the house.  Ultimately, you want for people to feel welcomed and safe in your home.  Keeping the same high expectations for behavior lets your children know that they cannot get away with unacceptable behavior when guests are over.  I have turned down a few invitations to homes where I know that the kids are wild and the parents do nothing about it.

Involvement
As always, get your kids involved in preparations for guests.  If you are hosting out-of-town guests have them help clean rooms, make beds, and prepare meals.  Kids love to show off their artwork.  To keep them busy while you get ready, have them create pictures and clay sculptures to show off or give to your guests.

Guests come to your house to see you and your family.  Make it easy for them during their visit by keeping routines and rules consistent.  Talk with your kids before, during, and after, and give them feedback on how they did.  Throw in special treats if they met or exceeded your expectations.  Always involve them from start to finish.  If they know the plan and how they fit in, they will have a great chance to live up to your expectations.

I am certain that all of you reading this will either have guests or be a guest this holiday season.  Have fun!

If you found this blog helpful please subscribe/like/re-tweet/share it.  I have also added lots of good pins to my Pinterest boards, so check them out too.

Good Luck,

Katherine

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Ways to Foster Honesty through Conversation

Listen to your kids

Listen to your kids (Photo credit: Bindaas Madhavi)

Good Afternoon and Happy Halloween,

So many newsworthy events have been happening lately.  The East Coast weather is on everyone’s mind, the elections are in their final days, and the holidays are just around the corner.  These three things don’t usually have much in common, but as I started thinking about this week’s post all three came to mind for the same reason: talking to your kids honestly.  There are numerous situations where you just wish your kids would stop asking questions, or you hope that they don’t notice something, or you thought they had forgotten about a certain topic.  Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.  Today I would like to offer strategies that help you talk to your kids in a comfortable way when you are in an uncomfortable situation.

Communication During a Crisis

The goal of communication during a crisis situation is get the most information out with the least amount of effort.  There are dozens of different types of crisis situations.  You may have time to prepare and plan, or you may have to act at a moment’s notice.  Being mentally prepared can help in all crisis situations.

  • Talk in an assertive but non-threatening way using the simplest words possible.
  • Keep your voice at the lowest volume possible when giving directions.
  • Give directions in short clips instead of a long train.
  • Give information about the situation that is honest and to the point.
  • Allow your kids to tell you their feelings and ask questions, if there is time.
  • Identify with their emotions in yourself, “I am also feeling scared.”
  • Give them honest reassurance.
  • Model behavior that shows leadership and logic

Communication about Adult Matters

Kids are smart and curious.  They want to know about the goings-on in their parents lives.  Over the past several months there has been lots of conversations about the elections, the economy, women’s rights, finances, health care, etc.  Kids are barraged with ads on TV, mail at the house, conversations they overhear, and billboards all over town.  It is not surprising to me that they are interested and curious to know more about these topics.

  • Decide what information is appropriate for your child to know.
  • Allow them to ask questions in an environment that is non-judgmental and honest.
  • Allow them to have opinions that differ from yours.
  • Ask them follow up questions to further the conversation.
  • Talk about adult topics in simple ways.
  • Relate information back to their personal experiences like earning an allowance, being sick and seeking medical care, incentives that are important to them, etc.
  • Talk to them about what it means to be president and how our country is different from other countries in this way.
  • Encourage conversations about character and what it means to be a leader.
  • Practice the, “no thanks,” conversation to have with phone and door-to-door solicitors.

Communication around the Holidays

Holiday time is usually very stressful.  Tension and anxiety are high, positive communication breaks down and behavior tends to follow.  Lots of families have had a tough year financially.  Hosting guests for the holidays and the spirit of giving can add to the feeling of being overwhelmed.  Having a plan in place to talk to your kids about these things now can save you time and frustration later.

  • Talk to them about budgets and money.
  • Reinforce behavior with conversations and reminders of expectations.
  • Practice conversation starters to use with guests as well as follow-up questions.
  • Practice honest ways to show appreciation towards others, especially in uncomfortable situations.
  • If you give to charities, talk to your kids about why you choose that charity and why it is important to give to others.
  • Start conversations about family traditions, what they mean, and how they got started.

Building a relationship with your kids that is both open and honest is a huge job.  What it boils down to is showing what honesty looks like through your actions towards them and others.  Kids are going to ask lots of questions either way, having those questions directed towards you is the goal.

I would love to hear from you! 

  1. How do you teach your kids about honesty?
  2. What are some situations where you felt you did or did not handle the conversation correctly?
  3. How do you mentally prepare for uncomfortable conversations?

Also, I have started an account on Pinterest just for my readers.  I invite you to check it out and follow me as I add helpful pins for all areas of parenting.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Picky Eaters

Good Morning,

I will admit that before I started working with families I held the belief that kids would eat just about anything if it was presented correctly.  While I still hang on to this belief somewhat, I now know that natural tastes are as individual as snowflakes.  No two are the same.  I have worked with parents who lose sleep over their child’s eating habits and are constantly calling their doctors for ideas to incorporate more variety into their diets.

While it is difficult to answer all questions regarding picky eaters, I would like to give you some general information as well as some helpful tips to manage your particular picky eater.

Age Appropriate Eating

  • 0-1 years:  Help create a healthy digestive system by introducing lots of greens and fiber into the diet.  A slow transition from baby food to adult food or new foods can help.
  • Toddler-hood:  Exposure to foods that are common in the house or that mom and dad are eating will get your child accustomed to eating these foods.  Allow your child to try some of what you are eating.  If they do not like it the first time, try offering it to them again at a later time.
  • Picky eaters usually get better after the age of 4.  If they continue as picky eaters at the age of 9, they will very likely be picky eaters as adults.

Helpful tips

  • Kids WILL eat if they are hungry.  Allow for time between meals and minimize snacking.  This prepares your child to eat properly, and as a bonus they will eat healthy foods!
  • Some kids are picky eaters because their parents are picky eaters.  If you think something is unappetizing, you are not going to feed it to your child.  This is natural.  It also speaks to the importance of exposing your child to many kinds of foods.
  • Involve your child in meal preparation.  Measuring, counting, mixing, watching the timer and some cutting can be a great way to get your child involved with the meal and excited to eat the outcome.  This is also a great way to spend some extra  time with your child.
  • Start a garden.  Encourage your child to get dirty and grow their own garden.
  • Have reasonable expectations.  Your child will not like everything you give them and may not like the same foods that you do.  They will not like everything the first time it is introduced.
  • Listen to your gut.  Many parents get scared and give in to unhealthy diets and junk food because they are told that their child is underweight.  Giving your child high fat and high sodium foods will up their weight but in an unhealthy, potentially habit-forming way.  If you believe that your child is eating what is best for them (variety, quality, and quantity), stick with your gut.  You know your child better than anyone else and should make the final decision when it comes to their well-being.
  • Take your child out to eat.  Watching other people eat is a great way to get hungry.  They may be so excited about getting out of the house that even the same foods presented in another setting will be appetizing.
  • Have a playdate and a picnic.  The saying “monkey see, monkey do,” couldn’t be more true for kids playing and eating with their friends.  Nothing is so important until a kid sees their friends playing with it or eating it.  Have a variety of snacks available to your kids and their friends at playdates.
  • Play with your food.  While this seems counter-intuitive, kids want to learn about food using all of their senses.  Touching, smelling, tasting, and seeing foods give kids an opportunity to make their own decisions about what they eat.  If you are introducing a new food, relax a little and allow your child to play with it before eating.  Remember, many young children end up with most everything in their mouths at some point.  You can take advantage of this!
  • Have fun with food.  My grandmother used to cut our sandwiches with cookie cutters.  I have no idea if they tasted good, but I ate them because they were fun.  There are lots of ways to make food look fun.  Try adding fruits and veggies to make faces, stripes, shapes, dots, etc.  Allow your child to help “decorate” their plate before they eat.

The road for a parent with a picky eater seems long.  It takes time, patience, and consistency to get over bumps in the road.  Give yourself (and your kids) a break when you want to force feed your kids veggies.  Remind yourself that you are in charge of your child’s well-being and giving them junk when they will not eat is not a good parenting decision.  Nor is it the most healthy choice for your child.  If you would like more specific recommendations or just need some support, please contact me directly.

If you found this post helpful please subscribe to this blog by hitting the Sign Me Up button at the top right of this page.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Classifying Consequences

Good Morning,

I was explaining different types of consequences to a client the other day and thought that it might be helpful to take a step back and give some definitions and examples.  A consequence is the result of something that happened earlier.  In the case of children it is usually the result of a behavior and seen as a negative result.  There are two main types of consequences, natural and logical.  Here are explanations of both and ways to make them work.

Natural consequences– you go out into the rain and get wet

  • Once you’ve stated the consequence do not rescue the child
  • Allow your child to experience their choices, safely
  • After the situation talk with your child about making a different and better decision the next time and what that looks like

Logical consequences– ones we create e.g.: if, then.

  • Positive logical – if you get these toys picked up quickly, we can have more time to play
  • Negative logical – if you don’t pick these toys up, I am going to put them away for a few days
  • Make sure the consequence is related to the child’s behavior and their actions
  • Be as immediate as possible
  • Match the intensity of the consequence to the intensity of the behavior

Allow your child to take responsibility for their actions and learn from them.  Talk about ideas to help the situation ahead of time, like a checklist.  Make the consequence something that YOU can follow through with.  This takes time as well as practice, so be patient with yourself and your child.

Sites to check out:
Natural and Logical Consequences

The Natural Child Project

Why You Should Let Your Child Fail

If you found this information helpful please subscribe/like/tweet/pass on.

Good Luck,

Katherine

 

Tech Gadgets and Kids

Good Morning,

Holiday shopping has begun and the most popular gifts are always the newest tech gadgets.  Electronic games and portable players are on the top of most kid’s wish lists.  While tech toys and games are commonplace among children, you need to manage a balance between face time and tech time.  How do you find time and enforce this balance?

Many parents use portable games to ease their child’s boredom and keep their behavior in check.  I agree that for situations when you expect a kid to sit and behave for an extended period of time, like on an airplane, a game or movie is nice to have.  At other times, when a conversation or family time is the goal, leave electronic games and devices at home.

Keep control over tech devices by:

  • Starting with a plan that the family follows.
  • Determining when you want to allow kids to have tech devices and gadgets.  Stay consistent.  Put these times on your daily calendar/schedule where kids can see them.
  • Using gadgets as an incentive for kids when traveling.
  • Never replacing good parenting with tech gadgets. Gadgets should not be present at the table or any other family gathering.
  • Taking gadgets away as a disciplinary method if behavior needs to improve or if grades drop.
  • Keeping the conversation going about tech use and expectations.  Consistency and control are key here.
  • Purchasing age appropriate tech gadgets for your children.
  • Talk to your kids about internet safety and online use.

If you have not had a conversation with your family and partner about tech use, now is the time.  Don’t let your kids’ lives be run by their phones, gaming devices or iPods.  Remember that you are the authority and should always be the gate-keeper for more or less time with their tech gadgets.

Sites to check out:
Technology and Our Kids with Jennifer Jolly
(video)
Kids and Tech: How Much is Too Much?

A Study on Media Usage and Kids from Kaiser Family Foundation

Antisocial Networking?

If you have found this information helpful please subscribe/like/tweet/pass on.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Online Use and Safety for Kids and Teens

Good Morning,

Teaching Kids to Use Computers

Image by IvanWalsh.com via Flickr

I have noticed lots of technology-based charter schools and preschools popping up around my city.  My family didn’t purchase a computer until I attended high school, and I learned how to use the internet in college.  Today, I can’t imagine my life without email or online newspapers.  So much has changed in such a small amount of time…it is truly amazing.  How do parents stay on top their children’s online usage and keep them safe?  For many parents, the computer is a household necessity for their family’s academic and social needs, but are they spending the time upfront to prevent unwanted habits and predators?

Safe Surfing Strategies

  • Start early in life.  Play age-appropriate games and check out kid-friendly websites together.
  • Bookmark pages for your kids so they can reach them easily and without hassle.
  • Set boundaries for time, websites, and online chatting.  Set up parental controls and passwords to protect against sensitive materials and inappropriate sites.
  • Have one family computer set up in a community space.
  • Talk to your children honestly about the dangers of chatting with strangers and online bullying of school mates.
  • Teach your older kids how to use search engines and online catalogs correctly.
  • Let your kids know that you are monitoring their online activities.

Here are some great kid friendly websites to check out:
Smories
Starfall
Bembo

PBS Kids

Disney

KidZui

Sesame Street

Other sites for parents to check out:

Google Family Safety Center
Kids Rules for Online Safety

Social Media and Your Children
(video)

If you found this information helpful please subscribe/like/tweet/pass on.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Discipline and School Age Children

Parayar School Children

Image via Wikipedia

Good Morning,

A few weeks ago I blogged about having a conversation regarding discipline.  This dialogue can occur at any point in your kid’s life, and will likely happen multiple times throughout childhood.  Discipline should change as your child does.  As they begin making more mature decisions, they will be capable of having a more mature relationship that hopefully entails less discipline.  If you have been consistent with your discipline methods to this point, chances are good that you have established good patterns of communication and discipline with your child.  Their behavior changes when they hit school age.  Toddlers tantrum, while older kids slam doors, lock themselves in their rooms, give the silent treatment, and talk back.

Now is a good time for you to evaluate your discipline methods and make sure they fit the crime as well as your child’s personality.  The line between too little and too much is very thin and is worth some extra thought and effort.  Because school-age children are able to think for themselves, they should.  Many times, discipline measures take place because they have not thought about the long-term consequences of their actions.  At this point in their lives they are becoming young adults and the decisions they make are more permanent.

Take a look at what has worked in the past and revamp those methods.  Many methods that work for toddlers simply need tweaking to fit an older child.  Did the time out method work for you in the past?  This same idea plays out when a child has to miss an event with their friends.  Grounding a child is merely a slightly evolved manifestation of a time out.

By this age they are probably involved in extra-curricular activities such as sports, music, and the arts.  Schedule their days such that there is little or no room for trouble.  They should still have free time to do what they want, but their days should be pretty full between school, activities, homework, and family.  If you are running into problems with behavior, one potential solution involves increasing their activity level.

Another way to fit the discipline method to your child is to look at what they really enjoy doing.  The take away method has been around forever and is very effective.  Do they love sports, hanging out with their friends, or tech gadgets?  If you have invested money in these things, e.g. you have paid for sports teams, have them work to pay you back.  Hard work is also a great form of discipline.  Did they cost you time or money with their misdeeds or carelessness?  The punishment can fit the crime.

Another way to employee this method is to have them choose the consequence.  Many times kids are harder on themselves than we are.  If they choose to have something taken away for a specified period of time, they are more invested in the result.  This is another form of the idea that when you buy something with your own money, it is more valuable.  Respect your child’s choice and stick with it.  Let them know that you appreciate their involvement in their consequences.

Ultimately, the idea is to teach your children that the choices they make have consequences.  When kids are young, the most important thing to teach them is that they must listen to you for their safety and that they must depend on you for their survival.  As children mature they are able to do more for themselves.  They may not need you to feed them or keep them from running into the street.  Therefore you need to change your behavior to match theirs.  Change the discipline to match the lesson you are trying to teach.

If you have not been spending as much one-on-one time with your kids as you would like, now is the time to fit that in.  It is exceedingly valuable to know your kids at these times and allow yourself to see them as young adults and kids, not babies.  Ask them questions, tell jokes or stories, and interact any way that comes naturally.  This one action will cut down on discipline more than anything else.

Go with what works for you and your kids.  If you are struggling with discipline, change methods or seek help.  Asking teachers, doctors, counselors, and family coaches are a great way to implement some new strategies.  It is important that you stay in control of your child as they learn to make good decisions for themselves.

Sites to take a look at:

Discipline:  A Parent’s Guide for School Age Children
Discipline:  Teaching School Age Children Social Skills

Age-Appropriate Discipline Techniques

If you found this blog helpful, please subscribe/like/tweet/share.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Taking Stock in the Middle of First Semester

Mathematics homework

Image via Wikipedia

Good Morning,

Here we are at the end of October.  The holidays are just around the corner and we are into the second half of the first semester in traditional-calendar schools.  How would you say your child is doing?

So far you should have been to parent-teacher conferences and established a working relationship with your children’s teachers.  You may have already volunteered at the school or taken part in planning a classroom party.  If you have not done these things, it is not too late.  In the middle of the first semester is an ideal time to take stock and set up a plan for the rest of the school year.  Here are the areas to review and ways to make the most of this school year.

Routines
How are your routines?  Are you getting out of the house on time and with all the things you need?  Are there any areas where you can shave off even a few seconds to make things go more smoothly?  Take a look at this morning routine blog to get some ideas.  How is your nighttime routine?  Are your kids getting to bed on time and getting enough sleep?  Have you established a homework and after-school schedule?  At this point, sports should be scheduled and planned for the rest of the school year.

Academic Status
Many parents sit with their kids and help with homework.  If this is the case, you should know where your child struggles academically.  Many kids say they do not need help and therefore parents do not know the state of their skills.  Sit with your child a few days a week.  Go over their homework with them and answer any questions they might have.  One way to break the ice in this area is to approach them after dinner, while they are doing their homework, with some ice-cream in hand.  Be sure to take some mental notes so you can follow up later.  Doing this over the course of a few days (or weeks) will ensure that you are seeing the correct struggles, and not just one tough assignment.

Communication with Teachers
If you have been to parent-teacher conferences, you have a good idea where your child stands regarding the year’s expectations.  If you have not had the opportunity to organize a one-on-one conversation before now, call and schedule a time for you to meet and talk about your child.  Bring up any concerns you have.  You should see if what you experience at home matches what happens at school.  Ask the teacher for a basic guideline for the rest of the school year so you can prepare mentally to help your child.  If there are areas where your child is struggling, now is the time to ask for help either from the teacher or a private tutor.  Many teachers offer private tutoring after school as a way to make some extra money.  This is an easy way to get some personalized help for your child by the person teaching the materials daily.  If you do not love your child’s teacher, ask around for a reputable tutor.  It is well worth the time and money to ensure your child understands the material presented in school.

Behavior
Every time a friend or acquaintance returns to high school for their reunion, I hear the same story.  People haven’t changed and everyone fell into the same cliques and petty behavior.  It is the same for your child.  They return to the same group of kids every year.  You can expect some of the same unwanted behaviors year after year as well.  If you are one of the hundreds of parents looking at your child’s behavior issues and thinking, “I thought we were over this,”  or “I thought they had outgrown that,” not to worry, there is still time to get that issue resolved.  If your child’s behavior concerns you, talk to their teacher or the school’s psychologist, nurse, or counselor.  If you can admit that you have not been the most consistent with behavior expectations at home, now is the time to get on the ball and take control.  If you need help, contact a Family Behavior Coach, such as myself, in your area.  It is never too late to reach out for some support.

The unfortunate truth is that after Thanksgiving break students and teachers relax academically.  The end is in sight and a long two-week break sounds great.  Be prepared for this letdown.  Rev up your support of your children in order to finish the semester strong.  This will allow all of you to transition to the spring semester with confidence and a plan in mind.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Helping a Child Cope with Disappointment

Good Morning,

A good friend of mine recently told me about a situation she experienced with her twin boys.  They both received gift cards to a sporting goods store for their birthday.  After an hour of shopping, they went to the register to pay.  At this point, one of her sons noticed that he did not have his gift card.  In his excitement trying on clothes and looking at sports equipment, he must have dropped it without noticing.  They rushed around the store looking for the gift card but could not find it.  Her son was devastated.

I saw my friend a few days after this had happened.  I remember how bad she felt for him and how she still had questions about her reactions to his disappointment.  I know some variant of this situation has happened to all parents.  Today I will discuss how you can best help your child in this situation, as well as how powerfully educating it can and should be.

Don’t rush in to save them
As hard as it is to let your children learn from their mistakes, it is necessary for them to grow and mature from their experiences.  Unless they are putting themselves or others in danger, let them be.  My girlfriend could have replaced the gift card or demanded that her other son share his gift card, but she (rightfully!) did not.

Empathize and sympathize with them
We have all been in this position and can empathize with feelings of anger and embarrassment.  Sympathize with your child and let them know that you are sorry that the situation happened.  Ask them if there is something you can do to help, within reason, and talk with them about what they will do differently next time.  My friend told her son how badly she felt and told him that she, too, had experienced a similar situation in the past.

Do not punish them verbally or physically
In a situation where you want them to feel the effects and consequences of their own decisions, there is nothing gained by adding to the punishment.  Saying hurtful things or “I told you so” only makes the situation worse.  Allow them to learn from their experience, not feel disregarded or shamed by you.  Make sure that siblings follow your lead, and do not taunt their less fortunate brother or sister.

Next time, give them a reminder
Inevitably, a similar setup will occur in the future.  When it does, remind them what happened the last time.  Remind them of the strategies you discussed.  Ultimately, it is important to let them decide for themselves how they want to proceed.  Sometimes it takes a few disappointments before the lesson sinks in.

Be prepared
Think about staying calm and sincere during a time like this.  It is likely they will blame you for not telling them or helping them.  As previously mentioned, they are feeling angry and embarrassed.  It is natural to place the blame elsewhere.  Remember that lessons they teach themselves have a far greater impact than any lesson taught by someone else.

Making mistakes and learning from them are essential parts of growing up.  Everyone has been in a similar situation, and it always makes you angry for a little while.  Help your child see that life goes on and that they will get an opportunity to make a better decision or be more careful in the future.

As for my friend’s son, his teacher called the following Monday to relate to her that her son told everyone about what had happened.  He also told all his friends that while he was really sad about losing his gift card, he learned he should let mom hold on to his important things.  My girlfriend was happily surprised at this outcome and that she was able to provide a life lesson.

Great sites from around the web:

Some questions to help your child cope with disappointment at About.com
Using your senses to deal with disappointment at Heligirl
Helping cope with frustration and disappointment from Youth Development @ suite 101

If you found these suggestions helpful subscribe/like/tweet/pass this blog along.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Time Out Method for Kids

fearfull and crying child before dental treatment

Image via Wikipedia

Good Morning,

For many parents, one of the most difficult days experienced is the day they realize that they need to start a more structured, more serious discipline plan.  As I mentioned a few days ago, it is important that you and your partner go into a discipline plan with a method that you have agreed upon.  Tailor your plan to your child’s needs and be sure both of you are able to consistently enforce the plan.

There are numerous discipline plans.  Today I am focusing on the time-out method.  I have always liked and followed the plan offered by Love and Logic.  Today, I aim to give you the best parts of their method in addition to adding some strategies of my own.  I believe that this method is very effective if you remain consistent.

Follow the below steps when using the time-out method of discipline:

  1. Communicate with your child that you will be using a new plan starting today.  Let them know that when they make a bad decision you are going to put this plan into action.
  2. Designate a cue word or phrase.  I like to use the word “bummer.”  I simply say the word “bummer, ” and they know that they are going to time-out and that they have made a bad decision.
  3. Remove your child from the situation.  Designate a place in your home, like their bedroom, or a corner for them to sit in.  If you are out of your house, simply remove them from the situation where they cannot be distracted by their friends.  Allow your child to sit alone for a few minutes.  If they are throwing a tantrum, let them work it out on their own.  It is very normal for them to be angry at themselves for making a bad decision.  Calmly and authoritatively escort them to the designated area and leave them for a few minutes.
  4. Allow them to sit and calm down or think for a few minutes.  Do not let them get up or leave this area until you let them.  You may need to close the door and keep it closed by force (if necessary).  Do not talk to them or interact with them in any way until they are out of time-out.
  5. When you are both calm, open the door and have a quick chat about the situation and why they were in time-out.  “It is dangerous when…,”  “It is never acceptable to hit/kick our friends,”  “I need you to listen to me the first time I ask you to…”  Tell them what response you expect in a situation, and ask them if they would like to try it again.
  6. Finish with some positive words.  Tell them that you know they will make a different/better decision next time, or that you love them no matter what and will always help them in stressful times.  Let them know that you care about them and their well-being and move on.
  7. Allow them to make the situation right.  They can clean up a mess, apologize to a friend, show you that they know what to do.  When they make the right decision, praise them.

Other tips to make it work

  • Act immediately upon the situation.  Do not wait until you get home or until there is someone else to enforce the punishment
  • Use the time when your child is in time-out to regroup and calm down.  A child’s misbehavior is equally frustrating for the parents.  Give yourself a chance to make the best decisions for your child in a calm and controlled way.
  • If you choose to give a warning, stick with it.  No discipline method will work if you are not serious about acting upon your words.  I think it is great to allow your child to make a good decision right then, but if they do not, stick with the plan.

Give your child a structured and controlled environment to live in.  For many kids, guesswork leads to mistakes.  As their environment and decisions become better-defined, their behavior improves.  If you provide well-established boundaries as well as the consequences for straying outside the lines, they are more likely to choose to stay within those lines.

More information regarding the time-out method of discipline:

The history of this method at Wikipedia
Easy to follow plan from the University of Minnesota
The Center for Effective Parenting has a ton of information
Time-in or Time-out at WebMD

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Good Luck,

Katherine