Kids need sleep From your first night at home with a newborn to living with a grumpy teen, one thing is certain: children need sleep. More than this, they need a sleep schedule that is respected by the entire family and followed as consistently as possible. Well-rested kids make for happy kids and a better family dynamic. Did you know that when a child is tired from lack of sleep they perform one or two levels below their current school grade?
Rules are your friend
Rules should be clear and reasonable for your child’s age and skills. Consequences for breaking rules should be obvious from the onset so that children know what to expect. When a rule is broken, make the undesirable behavior very clear “You broke our household rule about cleaning up after ourselves by leaving out dirty clothes and dishes.”
Consistency is Key
This piggybacks off of sleep schedules and rules—kids thrive with structure. It let’s them know what to expect and also what is expected of them. Sleep schedules, rules, consequences, and beyond should be kept the same from day to day barring unavoidable events.
Your behavior sets the tone
Children observe and absorb so much more than you may realize. They are constantly scanning their environment for clues on how they should interact and behave. Use your own actions to model acceptable behaviors and reactions. Stay calm and positive as you encounter life’s everyday challenges to show your children healthy patterns for dealing with obstacles.
Be on the same page as your partner
Work through your differing views on parenting before you take on the joint responsibility of raising a child. Of course, unique situations arise, but your overall parenting values and goals should be the same from the offset. Along these lines, both parents should have an equal share in disciplining. If you enter a room as your partner is disciplining your child, do not jump into the conversation. Instead, let them finish and discuss later. Jumping in undermines their authority and leads to mixed signals for your child. There is always time later when you are alone to hash out the details of the situation and make modifications for the next time it arises.
Set aside time for fun activities
Ok, this sounds obvious, right? It’s easy for parents to forget that the best way to connect with their children is to tap into their own inner child. Get on the floor and build a LEGO castle, help with a blanket fort on a rainy day, and swing with them at the park. In addition to bonding with your child, you will actually release your own stress and find much needed balance and relaxation in your adult life.
About the author:
This post was written by Bob Hanna. He is a psychologist offering a number of services in Asheville NC that include Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples; individual counseling for adults; parent coaching; and testing for children, teens, and adults.
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