Invest in one-on-one time with kids daily. Kids are hard-wired to need positive attention and emotional connection. When they aren’t able to get those things, they will seek it out, and sometimes in negative ways. Just 10 minutes a day will make a huge difference.
Get serious about sleep. When we are overtired, we are cranky and irritable. It’s the same for kids. If they don’t get enough sleep it is harder for them to concentrate, or control their emotions and behaviors. Try moving bedtime earlier in 10 minute increments. The rest will pay great benefits for both of you!
Everyone pitches in. Kids need to understand that everyone needs to contribute to make the household run smoothly. Daily contributions (not “chores”) help bring the family together, and teaches them life skills.
Don’t worry, be happy. Be the example you want your kids to see. How would they describe you to others? Fun and lighthearted? Stressed and bossy? Smile more—even if you have to force it in the beginning. Your kids will notice, and they will smile more too.
Encourage your kids to be problem solvers. When parents step in the middle of a sibling disagreement and determine who’s at fault, it makes things worse. Kids see a “winner” and a “loser,” and it heightens sib-ling rivalry. Encourage your kids to find a resolution to the problem on their own, which will help them solve conflicts as they grow older. If you have to get involved, don’t choose sides, but ask questions that will help them figure out a solution.
Simplify family rules and be firm. Remembering, and following, a ton of rules is hard for anyone; especially children. Try simplifying it down to what is most important. Here at school we use: We take care of our-selves. We take care of each other. We take care of our things. We then relate all expectations to these three rules.
Put Time outs in Time Out. When children are put in time out, they are not learning how to make better choices next time. It also escalates power struggles, especially for strong-willed children. Try focusing on training rather than punishment. Ask, “what can we do differently next time?” and role play the do-over.
Don’t ignore the source. Misbehavior is always a symptom of a deeper issue. When we know what is caus-ing the behavior, we can use the right strategies to correct it. Are they throwing toys because you have been busy all day and they want your attention? Are they tantruming because they didn’t sleep well last night and need some down time? Could that extra dose of sugar earlier be causing some excess energy? It is easier to diffuse a situation we understand. And more effective for teaching self-control.