Easy Ways to Get Your Child to Behave—and Want To
On any given day you've probably had two or three showdowns with your child over everything from brushing her teeth to getting in the car seat -- all before lunch. But contrary to how things may seem, most kids like to behave in a manner that makes them (and you) proud -- at least most of the time. The best way to get there: Help your child feel as if you and she are on the same team. These six strategies show you how.
Build stronger bonds
If you want your child to be more cooperative, change your focus from improving him to improving your relationship. When you dwell on the ways he's misbehaving, it just discourages both of you -- you feel like a bad mom, and he feels as if he can't do anything right. Besides, all that energy you're using to correct him could be channeled into something more uplifting and effective. So try to give him positive feedback several times a day -- a specific compliment on something you see him doing ("You're choosing such great colors to draw your picture," or "I really like the gentle way you played with your baby sister"). And don't forget to spend some time with your child each day, doing something he enjoys.
Be a booster
After having fed, diapered, dressed, and done just about everything for your baby, it's hard to step back when she's older and let her do things herself (especially when you're in a rush). But micromanaging her life -- from telling her exactly what to wear to opening her juice boxes -- just sends the message that you're not confident about her abilities. So whenever you can, let her accomplish as many small tasks as possible.
And as much as you'd like to help, it's better for her to resolve some squabbles with her playmates or siblings on her own. You can encourage her to do this with a couple of simple sentences that state the problem and provide a resolution: "I understand you're angry, and I know you can use your words instead of screaming at your friend."