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1. Stay Realistic
What To Do: Become familiar with your child's abilities and limitations. Expecting too much or too little from your child can lead to problems.Parenting in Action: The entire restaurant is staring at you and your two and a half year-old who is throwing crayons and loudly crying. You can get angry and frustrated. Or you can take her for a short walk to give her and others a needed break.
2. Plan Ahead
What To Do: Think and prepare in advance for the worst while expecting the best. Predict what your child may need or do so you can best prevent conflict and distress.Parenting in Action: Your 3 year-old is screaming for food in the backseat, and you are stuck in rush hour traffic. Fortunately you remembered to pack crackers and juice in a safety cup.
3. Prep Your Child
What To Do: Your child is not a mind reader. Give her one clear, concrete instruction so she knows what you expect.Parenting in Action: Your daughter is playing at a friend's house, and the playroom looks like a tornado hit. When you tell your daughter its time to go, she ignores you and continues to play. Instead, you can say, "All right, time to get going. Alexa, letâ€™s start by putting the dolls in their box!â€
4. Offer Some Choices
What To Do: It takes time for children to learn responsibility, make decisions, and accept consequences. Let your child choose between two options that both lead to success.Parenting in Action: You sense a struggle when your daughter outright refuses to sit in her car seat. Avoid a battle by saying: "Melissa, the car wonâ€™t start until you get buckled in your seat. Do you want to climb in yourself, or do you want Daddy to put you in?â€
5. Teach Her Cause and Effect
What To Do: Say a simple "when...then" statement, a direction of what your child needs to do for something desired to happen. Successful "when...then" statements: Are positive. Stated once. Followed through.Parenting in Action: Your child runs outside barefoot and you say, "No, put on your shoes." She starts to tantrum. A better approach would be to say: "When you put on your shoes, then you may go outside."
6. Catch her Doing Good
What To Do: Reinforce behavior you want to see with specific, positive attention.Parenting in Action: You know it is only a matter of time before your 4 year-old fidgets, leaves, or throws turkey on the floor. Instead of waiting to scold her, compliment her: "Deena, it makes Mommy so happy to see you eating and sitting nicely like a big girl!"
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7. Stay Calm
What To Do: Model self-control by remaining calm when your child acts out.Parenting in Action: While you are preparing for company you walk into your dining room to discover your 4 year old coloring on the white wall with red markers. Your first instinct is to scream in horror. After you take a breath, you say, "Mary, paper is for coloring. Mommy's walls are not." You whisk her away from the wall and strap her into the high chair.