|1. Prevent unwanted behavior
by meeting your child's needs when they are first expressed. With her current needs met, she is free to
move on to the next stage of learning.
2. Provide a safe, child-friendly environment. There is little
point in having precious items within the reach of a baby or toddler, when they can simply be put away
until the child is old enough to handle them carefully.
3. Apply the Golden Rule. Think about how you would like to be
treated if you were to find yourself in the same circumstances as your child. Human nature is human
nature, regardless of age.
4. Show empathy for your child's feelings. Even if a child's
behavior seems illogical, his underlying feelings and needs are real to him. A statement like
"You seem really unhappy" is a good way to show that you are on your child's side.
5. Validate your child's feelings so she knows that you understand
and care, and that she will never be rejected for having any particular kinds of feelings. For example,
"That scared me too when I was little."
6. Meet the underlying need that led to the behavior. If we punish
the outward behavior, the still unmet need will continue to surface in other ways until it is finally met.
Questions such as "Are you angry because I've been on the phone so much today? Would you like to go
for a walk together?" can help a child feel loved and understood.
7. Whenever possible, find a "win-win" solution that
meets everyone's needs. To learn effective conflict resolution skills, consider a course in Nonviolent CommunicationSM.
8. Reassure your child that he is loved and appreciated. So-called
"bad" behavior is often the child's attempt to express his need for love and attention, in the
best way that he can manage at that moment. If he could express this need in a more mature way, he would.
9. Shift the focus away from a situation that has become too
stressful to resolve at that moment: "Let's take a break. What would you like to do instead?"
10. Be sure that you and your child have had nutritious food
throughout the day so your blood sugar levels stay high. Frequent, small meals are best.
11. Breathe! When stressed, we need more oxygen, but tend to take
shallow breaths. Even a few deep breaths can help us to calm down and think more clearly.
||12. We don't expect a car to
start unless the gas tank is filled, and we shouldn't expect a child to function at her best if her
"emotional tank" is running low. Give the three things that fill a child's emotional tank: eye
contact, gentle touch, and undivided attention.
13. Chamomile tea is very relaxing for both adults and children.
Taken an hour before bedtime by a nursing mother, it can also help to calm her baby. Older children might
like iced chamomile tea or popsicles.
14. Take a time out - with your child. A change of scenery -
even if it's just a short time outdoors, can make a real difference for both parent and child.
15. Pick a Parenting Card for
inspiration and encouragement or create some of your own reminder cards.
16. Offer a massage. A bedtime massage can help a child to sleep
more soundly, giving her more resilience and energy for the following day.
17. Give choices. Children need to feel they have a voice. Offering
choices, even if they seem unimportant to you ("Do you want the red cup or the blue one?") will
help a child feel that he has some say over his life, especially if he has had to cope with recent
18. Try whispering. When tensions are high, whispering can help to
get a child's attention and also help to calm the parent.
19. Give your child time. A statement like "Let me know when
you're ready to share the toy / climb into the car seat / put on your jacket" will give the child a
sense of autonomy and make it easier for him to cooperate.
20. Give yourself time. Count to ten (silently) or ask for time
("I'm not sure what to say. Please give me a moment while I think this over." Sometimes we just
need a bit of time to think more clearly and to see things more objectively.
21. Remember that children create images from our words: "Slow
down!" is more effective than "Stop running!". The first statement creates an image of
slowing down, while the second creates a picture of someone running (the word "don't" is too
abstract to overcome the more concrete and compelling image of running). Similarly, a specific request is
more effective than a general one: "Please put down the glass" instead of "Be
22. Ask yourself "Will I look back at this later and
laugh?" If so, why not laugh now? Create the kind of memory you would like to have when you look back
on this day.