Who’s in charge in your home? If it’s your child, it’s time to take your home back!
Do you wake up every morning dreading the battle over getting your kids out of bed, getting them to eat their breakfast or getting them to put their #$$%! shoes on? I know, I’ve been there, it’s painful.
But, I'm here to tell you that THERE IS ANOTHER WAY. Implement these 5 simple steps over the next 30 days and I promise you, you’ll be the boss.
1. GET THEM IN BED
The Problem: Do your kids whine and complain all the time? If so, I guarantee you they are sleep deprived – almost all kids are. Just think of how grumpy you are when you’re tired. Now apply that to a child who’s ability to filter her emotions aren’t fully developed.
The Solution: Get her in bed the same time every night, and, most importantly, STICK WITH IT.
She wants another 5 minutes of her show --- Sorry, no.
Dad wants to goof around with him in bed for an extra 10 – No can do.
She’s hungry for a snack – See you in the morning.
If you keep to a defined pattern every night, your child will know what to expect, thereby making it much easier to get her in bed and to sleep.
2. STICK TO A ROUTINE
The Problem: Your life’s a turbulent mess? Your family needs a routine. Routines are crucial in setting up a calm household. We love knowing what is headed our way and what to expect next.
The Solution: Create a daily schedule with your child and stick to it. Get her to agree to the schedule, making sure that there rewards and fun for her built in.
Here’s a skeleton example you can use to start a discussion with your child over a morning routine:
6:30am Wake Up and child chooses what he wants to do in his room alone
(She starts the day off happy because he gets to do what he wants for 30 minutes, sounds good to me!)
7:00 a.m. Get dressed
7:15 a.m. Breakfast & chores
7:30 a.m. Brush teeth, pack up backpack
7:40 a.m. Play!
(If child cooperates with the schedule her reward is 15 minutes of free time before getting into the car)
3. GIVE THEM CHOICES
The Problem: Parents are dictators. Without much thinking, we order our kids around all day long.
Eat this. Put on these shoes. Pick up those toys.
But telling our kids what to do every moment denies them of the ability to learn how to make simple decisions, thereby robbing them of an easy way to build self confidence.
The Solution: Give your child choices all day, every day. Pick 2 things that you'd be happy with and let your child pick one of them.
- Put pants or shirt on first?
- Plain blue socks or cookie monster socks?
- Brush teeth or feed your fish first?
- Pancakes or waffles?
- Put your coat or shoes on first?
- Read this book or that book first?
By selecting your kids’ options, you still get to have your child’s day run how you want, but you give them say in the matter. When she thinks she’s in charge, she’ll build her self confidence and stop fighting you on everything. You know she isn’t in charge, but I won’t tell her if you don’t.
4. BE A DISTRACTOR, NOT A FIGHTER
The Problem: You are always yelling at your child. But fighting with your child will get you nowhere. Logic won’t work on them. And yelling is a bad long-term solution. At the end of the day, a fight is only going to leave you feel frustrated and your child feeling overwhelmed.
The Solution: Become the master of distraction. When your child is about to lose it, find something to distract him. It sounds hard but it really isn’t. Kids have an incredibly short attention span and all you need to do is shift their focus from one thing to another. As you master the art of distraction over time, you’ll be amazed how many blow-ups can be averted.
Mom: It's time for bed.
Child: No. I'm not going.
Mom: Do you want to me carry you to bed or tickle you upside down? (you grab her and tickle her while carrying her upstairs. She laughs. Crisis averted).
5. STAND YOUR GROUND
The Problem: You have good intentions but give in to every demand your child makes. I get it, you’re exhausted, and its way easier to say “yes”, than to say “no” and have a fight about it. But every time you give in to your child’s whining, you are giving him a license to push back the next time.
The Solution: Sorry folks, I don’t give a simple solution for this one. Get some balls. Man up. Be a parent. Make your decision, state your decision and that’s it. Do not debate. Do not negotiate. Do not engage in a heated discussion. Respond honestly, to the point and then move on.
You’re their parent and not their best friend. Ignore the "I hate you", "you’re not my mom anymore" and own your decisions. Come on, you know that in the morning she’ll be sitting on your lap eating your eggs.