Does your child have selective hearing? Does your child's behavior drive you crazy? Does you child follow your rules only when it is convenient? Discover how to set and teach rules that can make your child the envy of all your friends and neighbors.
Of all the behaviors you want your child to show, you must pick those few that are most important to you to begin with. Having a long list of new rules can be overwhelming for your child (and you) to remember. The more consistently you repeat and enforce your rules, the quicker your child can learn and internalize them. This requires that you concentrate on one or two rules at a time.
To determine your highest priorities, you may want to start a list of all the behaviors or rules you would like your child to follow. Then review the list and decide, based on your own values, which ones are the most important to you. Which rules, if your child follows them, will cause the greatest improvement in your family life. Which behaviors could lead to the greatest harmony, the highest achievement, the most stress reduction. Use whatever criteria is most significant to you. For example, you not want to place as much emphasis on, “Always put your papers in the top left corner of your desk,” as you do on, “Always look both ways before you cross the street.” You can number them by order of importance. Then start right in teaching rule number one.
You can keep adding to this running list as you think of new rules, and as your child matures. You can also keep rewriting your list as your priorities change over time.
By building up your child's good behavior one or two at a time you can have, over time, the best behaved child you can imagine.
Once you have decided on the order of importance of your rules, you can begin to word them in language your child can easily understand and repeat. This needs to be age appropriate. For example, “Always put your papers in the top left corner of your desk,” may work better than, “Position your writing materials in the upper left location of your bureau on a daily basis.” It may take more than one attempt and some trial and error. Try to boil your concepts down to ideas your child can grasp easily. Use words you know your child is familiar with. As your child's vocabulary expands, so can the vocabulary in your rules. If the language or the concepts you use in your rules are too complex, then teaching those rules will be an exercise in frustration, for you and your child.
Learning new behaviors requires repetition. First, you must say a new rule out loud repeatedly so your child becomes familiar with the words, phrases and idea. Then, have your child memorize the rule by repeating it out loud to you. For more on this, see the section Eliminate Deliberate Disobedience. The more you require your child to say the rule, the more quickly he/she will learn the new rule.
This strategy of repetition also applies to the performing the behavior. First, you must demonstrate the behavior, or do it with your child, repeatedly for him/her to become familiar with the actions required. Then, have your child master the rule by repeatedly demonstrating it while you watch.
This process of familiarizing, then memorizing/mastering, through repetition may be the most powerful method you can use to teach your child new things.
1) Make a list of family rules based on your own values. This can accelerate the speed at which your child learns what is important in life more than anything else you do.
2) Practice following the rules with your child. Your attention to repetition is key to laying the foundation of your child's good behavior.
Coming soon: Be a Role Model for Your Child. Master the single greatest influence on your child!