Nanny 911 Child Behavior Boot Camp Wrap-Up
Well, you did it, moms and dads! You've successfully completed the Child Behavior Boot Camp. Give your kids a big hug and yourselves a hearty pat on the back! What Nanny Deb and I have given you are practical techniques to apply in your household every single day so your children grow up to be caring, polite, respectful human beings. And in the process, we hope that you learned a little bit about yourselves—and maybe even grown closer to your children, too! Let's just give one last review of what we've learned these past four weeks:
- Plan Ahead to Avoid Tantrums. Just as the old saying goes: Forewarned is forearmed. If you plan your day and pack your bag accordingly, and schedule your outings when your kids are well-fed and well-rested, you should be able to cut out a good portion of unnecessary tantrums.
- Stop Whining & Screaming. Whiners aren't born, they're made! Whining starts at the pre-verbal stage, but toddlers are smart and quickly realize that they can affect their parents' behavior. If you ignore the whining and screaming and instruct your kid to use her words, you can turn your home into a No Whine Zone.
- Say No to Saying No. No is such a reflexive word; we don't even realize how often we say it. (No wonder a toddler's first words are NO! They hear it all day long!) But if we learn how to take a pause and look for different ways to say what we want, your child won't be so quick to get upset. What our children want is their feelings acknowledged and validated.
- Get Your Kids to Clean Up. Getting your kids to clean up after themselves doesn't have to be such a chore! And it's actually the first step in teaching them responsibility. If you take something out, put it back! Turn it into a game or contest, and hand out rewards to the winner. You may be surprised how agreeable they get!
- Reward Good Behavior. Focus on the positive behavior you want your kids to exhibit every day rather than punishing the bad. Kids are motivated by not only wanting to please you, but being able to be recognized for their achievements.
- Establish House Rules. As a parent who wants to raise good kids, it is YOUR job to decide what goes on in your house and what doesn't. By posting a set of House Rules for all to see, you lay the foundation for the kind of behavior that you expect in your household, and the behavior that's unacceptable. The same rules apply to Mom and Dad—and visitors, too!
- Take a Mommy or Daddy Time-Out. When you're stressed, you can lose your cool—and the last thing you want is to take it out on our kids. That's why a Mommy or Daddy Time-Out is necessary. Taking even five minutes to yourself every day can be restorative and make you feel like you again.
- Give Your Kid Compliments. Children do need to be told they're loved every day, but they don't need to be fussed over for every little thing. But when they actually do accomplish something, that's when you should praise them appropriately.
- Acknowledge Mistakes and Move On (AMMO). To err is human. As parents, it's important to admit our own mistakes to our children, as well as acknowledge when kids mess up, too. But it's just as important not to dwell on them. That's why we Nannies use AMMO: Admit mistakes and move on.
- Say Please and Thank You. The path to a well-behaved and polite kid starts with these three magic words. If you set the example by saying please and thank you for everything—to your kids, to your partner, to the grocery store clerk—your children are sure to follow suit.
- Pick Your Battles. Unless you want constant friction in your household, it's up to you as parents to set your own limits and manage expectations. Don't pick on every little thing your kids do wrong! Instead, take inventory of what really matters to you—then let the other stuff go!
- Be a Better Listener. Learning how to listen establishes a true bond of trust between you and your children. Kids who grow up knowing that their parents are actually hearing them out, without judging them, without yelling at them first, will grow up knowing that their parents respect them. And, yes, respect is a two-way street!
- Get Your Kids Talking. Now that you've learned to be a better listener, the next step is to start asking the types of leading questions that will get your kids to open up and talk to you about what's going on with them.
- Keep Your Cool. Taming your own tempers is just as important as taming your kid's! If you feel you're about to erupt, count to 10 (or down from 20!) to give yourself that extra pause to collect yourself.
- Use a Timer. A timer can help motivate your kids to do what you want when you want them to, even before they grasp the concept of time. Tasks like cleaning up and getting ready can help your little dawdlers get going, while sharing and computer time teaches responsibility.
- Give Effective Time-Outs. The hardest part of parenting is discipline. But it's your job to teach your kids that actions have consequences. Time-outs can be effective if your child has committed a major infraction. It can get them to think about their actions and sort through their feelings. By talking to them afterwards, you can find out what your kids were thinking and figure out a calmer solution together.
Nanny Deb and I really hope that you've taken what we've shared here with you and apply it to your everyday lives at home and away. Because remember: The same House Rules apply in public, too! Nothing makes me happier than going to a restaurant and seeing kids with napkins on their laps rather than running around like animals at the zoo. When I see children using a knife and fork, I seriously want to throw a party.
So think of us Nannies as your mommy and daddy allies, watching over your shoulders as you go about your day, raising the well-behaved children they're destined to be. As with all the tools and techniques we've given you, consistency is key. So stick to it, parents, and keep up the good work!