Friday, November 9

Thanks Super Nanny

I know I should do most of this, but in the moment, it's hard to remember. Here are things I found on the Super Nanny site.

I find myself getting angry. What can I do about it?
1. Change the way you view your child’s behaviour


The way you view your child’s behaviour will influence the effect it has on you.

Understanding child development can help you to see your child’s behaviour in a less negative light.

• Parents often say “he’s winding me up” or “she knows how to press my buttons”. If you believe your child is deliberately seeking to upset you, then their behaviour is bound to infuriate you!

Let go of the idea that your infant or toddler is scheming about how to drive you crazy; this kind of manipulation is developmentally impossible as it requires a child to be able to understand that other people have beliefs and intentions different from their own – in developmental psychology this is called “theory of mind”.

This relatively advanced type of thought process does not develop until around age three or four years.

• Try to view your toddler for what he is; a little person enjoying his new found ability to move around and explore with huge curiosity the fascinating world around him. Remember that the little person causing such havoc simply can't understand that his actions affect other people, has not developed the ability for self-control so will act on impulse. He also has no sense of time, so will just not be able to wait.

• If you have an older child whom you feel is deliberately winding you up, try to look at why they may be behaving like this. Perhaps they have learnt that pushing you to the edge is the only way to get what they want? Make sure your child gets attention for all the positive behaviours you want to see more of.
2. Reduce stressful moments

If you can reduce the chances of melt-downs, tension and conflict in the first place there will be fewer chances of you reaching explosion point.

Be aware that children will readily absorb the emotionally climate around them; if you’re wound up they will be too.

• Use clear, brief, simple commands and keep your tone polite, calm but firm. Children will pick up on any hints of stress, wavering or anger in your voice and this may make them more agitated or more persistent.

• Avoid sarcasm (“Great, I just love clearing up your mess!”), threats (“If you don’t hurry up, I’ll go without you”), labelling (“you’re so selfish”) or criticism (“you’re taking forever, you’re always lazy”) when speaking to your child. In the short term these kinds of comments will upset and provoke your child and in the long term they may cause a damaging erosion of their self-esteem.

• Parents are often aware of the importance of praising good behaviour, but feel resentful about dishing out compliments to the little terror who’s causing so much grief. Set yourself small goals e.g. initially aim to praise just four good things a day, then gradually increase this. The more you praise, the more good behaviour you’ll see so this should be fairly easy!

• Agree a set of house rules and consequences – write these down and post them somewhere obvious. If you have a pre-agreed plan, your child knows where they stand, and you’re less likely to react hastily in the heat of moment.

• Set aside weekly relaxation time – this is not a luxury for you but a necessity. This may be a massage, a nice walk, listening to music or just a relaxing bath. Set up a babysitting circle with a group of friends if you are struggling with childcare.

3. How to cope if close to snapping

Reacting in anger often leads to rash decisions and sometimes aggressive responses such as shouting, smacking or hastily imposing extreme discipline . The result is that you're left feeling guilty and your child is left feeling upset and anxious. It’s fine to feel angry but it’s important to not let it control you.

• Tune into your body and learn to recognise early warning signs that you’re getting annoyed such as heart racing, feeling shaky or getting sweaty.

• Whenever you notice your body’s angry warning signs kicking in, stop what you are doing and try to look objectively at what has wound you up. This will help you to feel more in control.

• State your feelings, without attacking. Use ‘when...then’: “When you call me names I get upset”.

Now is not a good time to get into a debate. Show willingness to resolve things but just not now – “We can talk about this tomorrow over breakfast, but right now I’m feeling too wound up".

• If your child is safe, take time out , saying “I need some time to cool down”. Remove yourself from the situation.

• Take deep breaths; in through your nose and out through your mouth, trying to slow your breath as much as possible.

• Try clenching your hands tight as you breathe in then releasing them as you breathe out. This will turn down your body’s fight-flight response and makes you feel calmer.

• If it’s hard to leave your child, use distraction techniques (counting, reciting song lyrics or a poem in your head) to stop yourself from reacting rashly. Use positive self-talk – say to yourself “I’m doing the best I can” or “Keep calm!”

• Displace your anger by whatever means works for you – vacuuming, singing along to a favourite song, doing exercise.

• Some parents find it useful to keep a journal to jot down how they feel after angry outbursts. This is a useful way to vent your emotion and also may be helpful in revealing any recurrent patterns in you and your child’s behaviours.

• If you find you are regularly losing control of your anger and it feels like nothing is helping, you may benefit from seeking some professional support and advice.

How to handle backchat and disrespectful behaviour

Many parents complain about disrespectful behaviour from their children. But what can we do about it?
Why is he being disrespectful?

Various factors may be related to children behaving disrespectfully:

1. Being frustrated by limitations and wanting to test limits.

2. Copying the behaviour of other people around them.

3. Realising that being disrespectful gets a reaction: laughs, shouting, shock – either way it’s attention.

4. Feeling they are being treated unfairly or are not being listened to. This can particularly be the case with backchat or mumbled comments.
How to react to disrespectful behaviour

• Ignore minor disrespectful behaviour such as backchat or sulking. Say “I will not tolerate being talked to like that” and do not respond until your child is communicating appropriately.

• For behaviour which is more offensive or rude, you can use the naughty-step technique. Before taking your child to the naughty step, make sure you give one warning clearly stating why the behaviour is disrespectful and not acceptable. “In our family, we don’t talk to each other rudely.”

• When your child is rude, don’t laugh as this will give your child positive attention and encourage them to continue being rude.
"However much you cringe when you see or hear your child being disrespectful in public, resist the temptation to correct them in front of others."

Instead, take your child aside and describe the behaviour you disapproved of and provide guidance. For example, “I noticed you ignored the librarian when she asked you to stop talking. She seemed upset by your lack of respect. Either you can act more politely or we will have to leave story-time.”

How to prevent disrespectful behaviour

Children learn how to respond appropriately by watching and imitating those around them. This is called modelling. The most effective way to get your child to act respectfully is to treat them with respect and also to let them see you act respectfully towards other people. Remember ‘actions speak louder than words’.

• Let your child know exactly what behaviour is not acceptable by including statements about respectful behaviour in your house rules eg “No swearing”, “at dinner time, we sit nicely at the table”.

• Teach your child social manners by giving continual, gentle reminders about appropriate communication and behaviour. When adults provide clear information about appropriate behaviour, children learn what is expected of them. For example, “When you leave a friend’s house, it’s good to say ‘thank you for having me’. People like it when you do that”. Or, “When I’m talking to someone I expect you to wait until I’ve finished before asking me a question, or if you’re finding it hard to wait you could say ‘excuse me’”

• Pay close attention to your tone of voice, words and body language, not just with your child, but with everyone else around you as well. If your child hears you using put-downs, making snide comments, using sarcasm, swearing or shouting or sees you rolling your eyes or making faces at people, you are not modelling a respectful attitude. Be polite, courteous, considerate and well-mannered, and you will soon see such an attitude from your child.

• Make sure that you use good manners and a respectful tone when correcting disrespectful behaviour. Firmly state your disapproval by commenting descriptively and asserting expectations. Tell your child what you want, not what you don’t want. Rather than “Cut the backchat!” say, “Jamie, I heard you being rude to me under your breath. I don’t like that kind of behaviour. If you’re feeling frustrated please tell me directly.”

• Make sure you respond positively to good behaviour. When you’re child behaves nicely, respond with praise, approval and affection. Every time your child uses the type of manners and behaviour you want to see more of, comment approvingly. For example, “Thank you for waiting for me to finishing talking on the phone before asking me for a drink.” Or, “I noticed that you asked your brother before taking his toy. That was very considerate”.

• Keep an eye on the type of communication your child is exposed to. Swearing on TV, negative attitudes in video games and even disrespectful lyrics in music can all be absorbed by your child and may filter into their vocabulary and behaviour.

• Make sure you listen to your child and enable them to give their opinion or share how they feel. A child who feels listened to is less likely to try to have the last word. You may want to try using a thought box to encourage communication.

• Backchat is often associated with your little one’s resentment at being asked to do things she doesn’t want to do, or not getting her way. Minimise this frustration by using minimal, clear commands (avoid long lectures) and by offering choice. “Would you like to tidy your room before dinner or after?

Win over the Whiner

Six Strategies To Help Parents Keep Their Sanity

Before you frazzle your last nerve, or worse yet, give in to your child’s demands for attention, try these six tips — and restore your sanity.
Be calm and clear

Children will use kicking, biting, screaming or crying to get a reaction from Mum or Dad. When parents lash back at the child out of frustration, it may have the opposite of the intended affect. A child may see their bad behaviour as a way to get them the attention they desire.

Instead, calmly but firmly correct the child’s behaviour by saying things like, “Please ask politely” or “Please don’t hit Mummy. When you hit Mummy it hurts.” If you snap at your child, expect that he or she will adopt the same tone as an appropriate way to express frustration.

When children persist, resist the urge to give in. “Make an announcement: 'When you use your normal voice I will listen to you,’” suggests parenting author Elizabeth Pantley. “Then turn your back to the whining child and make it obvious you are ignoring her by singing or reading a book out loud held in front of your face.”
Don’t be afraid of discipline, but don’t forget the praise

Whining child - A child will quickly learn there are consequences to his actions if they result in time out, or time on the Naughty Step.

If your child’s bad behaviour continues, make it clear that you intend to follow through on threats of discipline. “If you yell at Mummy again, you will have to sit on the Naughty Step.” When he does it again, it’s straight to the Naughty Step for one minute for every year of age. When he is calm, and ready to try again, reinforce the message by asking for an apology — then give him a hug. Your child will learn that his time out was for his own good.

The key to discipline is consistency. Regardless of how busy you are, make the time for a time out when necessary.

And while bad behaviour deserves parents’ attention, so too does good behaviour. If your child resolves a conflict without resorting to whining, heap on the praise. Let him know that a calm, measured approach to frustrating situations will have the most positive outcome.
Stop whining before it starts

When a child whines or displays related behaviour, he might be trying to tell you something. Perhaps your children are not stimulated enough with games or exercise, or maybe they are hungry earlier than the established time for meals.

When your child starts whining, make note of the circumstances surrounding the situation. Perhaps a simple midmorning snack will ward off a noon meltdown, or a trip to the park for some play time will give the child a positive release for pent-up energy.
Pay attention to nap time/bed time

Whining is often related to a child being tired. Parents may expect children to conform to their sleep schedule, but children demand longer and more frequent periods of sleep. Consider whether your child’s sleep schedule is consistent and satisfying. If you child starts whining in the early evening, before bed time, perhaps it is their way of asking to go to bed a half-hour earlier. If your child is a terror by mid-morning, they may need to sleep it off.

For your children, the need for sleep doesn’t stop because it is not convenient for your schedule. You may have to make adjustments so your children get the appropriate time to sleep.
Cut the sweets

Diet and behaviour are often connected, and in children sugar can be like a drug. If you are pouring glass after glass of juice, you may be exceeding your child’s tolerance for sugar. Likewise, sweets, soft drink and other prepared foods are sometimes packed with sugar. Once the sugar high is gone, then comes the low. And with the low comes whining.

Pay attention to your child’s eating habits, and make connections to their behaviour. Perhaps some simple changes will make all the difference.
Be flexible

Remember, kids will be kids. So parents should understand that their minds are active and when they are engrossed in a project, or having fun at the playground, they may not want to stop.

When possible, meet your children halfway — “Okay, we can stay at the park for five more minutes. Then it’s time to go home and take a nap,” or “Alright, we can read one more book before bed.” Compromising with your child will teach them that reasoning with you is preferable to whining and acting out.
Common whining wind-ups, and how to avoid them:

* The ever-popular supermarket meltdown: Keep your kids in line by feeding them before you go to the supermarket, and give them duties to keep them occupied while you’re there. “Can you help Mummy find three apples?” You might want to avoid the sweets and crisps aisle altogether.
* Whining as you're winding down the road: Let’s face it, kids get bored in cars, so bring along games, toys and snacks to keep them occupied. Play their favourite music on the radio and sing along.
* Headaches when they’re hitting the sack: Children who are resistent at bedtime may benefit from an established routine that includes bedtime stories and other family rituals.

I took all of the above from the Super Nanny site

Awesome Reward Charts from Super Nanny When I get some ink for my printer, I will use the fairies and flowers one with the miss. It's time to focus on the positive and no longer on the negative.