Monday, July 4, 2016

Ideas on Creative Parenting

As all parents know, there is no instructional manual that comes with children.  There are plenty of books with ideas to use and try, just not one set of guidelines to go by, for the most part.  Lots of ideas come from other parents who tried out a creative idea that worked.  Will it work on your child?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  

Every child has their own personality.  There are certain guidelines that do work from day one.  Simple ones actually, such as you are the parent, they are the children, therefore there is no room for arguments.  To take that to a different level, is that there is room for talking calmly and setting boundaries, so that the child feels as if they were allowed to make a choice, even though it was basically what you wanted them to do all along.  Example:  family dinner time and all are sitting, except the toddler who wants to be up playing and perhaps pop over to the table to grab a finger food to be off on his way.  This is the time to go the child on their eye level and say calmly, yet firmly, "You have a choice here.  You can go off and play by yourself without disturbing us, which means you will stay away from the table where we all are eating together, or you can come and join us and sit down to be a part of the family. Then walk away.  Most of the time, the child will get up to be a part of what he wants to be a part of in the first place.  

If you looked at the picture above of two brothers wearing one large t shirt that says, "This is our get along shirt, to wear if arguing and fighting over toys and TV continues, this is a creative way to use time out with both children having to talk out their differences and come up with a solution.  It teaches problem solving.  Set a timer and let them sit down and talk.  There is actually a company who makes these shirts, however, one of a dad's old t shirts with the words painted on it will work just fine.  

Time outs are used, yet time ins work well also.  The child is placed in a designated area with a task to complete.  Depending on the age of the child, it can be to string a yarn with 50 beads, trace the alphabet, put together a small puzzle... and it is important to set a timer.  Then, after the frustration has worked out of their system, you can discuss the problem and they can help with the solution or what they could have done.  They are told to think about it while they work.

A favorite of mine is the messy room syndrome.  For a child who still has the Tooth Fairy coming to visit, if timing is right, you can leave a note from the Tooth Fairy to the child that says she came to retrieve her tooth and to leave a payment, however, the floor was covered with toys and clothes and she had a hard time getting to the bed.  She does say in her note that if the child organizes her room, that she will try to make a return visit.  Amazingly, a clean room without all of the hassle should be the outcome of this method.

One tried and true messy room idea is to set a deadline of when the items can be picked up and put away.  If the deadline is not met, go into the room with a plastic garbage bag and start loading the bag. The child is delighted to see that someone magically cleaned the room for her; until she is looking for something that she wants to wear and it is not to be found.  When she asks for it, you tell her that it is in a bag and will cost a dollar to get it out.  (set your monetary limit based on their piggy bank/weekly allowance).  This is a great way, especially for pre-teens, to learn the value of keeping their rooms picked up.  

In the world of wi-fi and what our children can amazingly do with it, a method that I never got to try out, but have been told it works very well is to place a sign on the family computer.  
Want today's wi-fi password?
1.  Make your beds
2.  Vacuum downstairs
3.  Walk the dog
If they have a smart phone or tablet, the wi-fi word is changed and therefore no internet connection until chores have been completed.

Another example of using today's technology is to remind your child of their jobs before you go out shopping.  Text them in a while to ask if they finished unloading the dishwasher.  When there is no reply, ask if they finished their homework.  Again, there will most likely be no reply.  After a few reminders, text that you are looking at cars so that he can have his own. You will get an immediate response, something like, "Oh wow, Mom.  Thanks!" To which you reply, "No - I'm not.  Just checking to see if you are reading my texts."  Tricky, but effective.

Last suggestion that I know for a fact that works.  When it comes to rather delicate conversations that you must have with your child, try having them in the car while driving down the highway or interstate.  First of all, they do not have to have eye contact with you, which can make them very uncomfortable and no one is going anywhere.  A perfect example of a discussion that you may want to plan this way could be on the birds and the bees.  I can promise that you won't regret it.  They may at first, but they will get over it.  At least they heard what you needed them to hear.

There is no one way to raise a child.  It is by trial and error, and hopefully, what you choose works most of the time.  If not, try a different approach.  Each child needs the love, affection and guidance from their parents.  It is not up to anyone else to give these basic needs to your child.  HAPPY CREATIVE PARENTING!

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