You try to come up with fun and different activities to keep your kids entertained in the midst of self-isolation, quarantine, lockdown, whatever you call it. And do your kids thank you and tell you how wonderful you are and that the hard work of planning is totally worth it?!
No? What? They aren't constantly covering you in praise and adoration?
Here's an idea to help with those seemingly ungrateful attitudes. Model gratitude. Every day say out loud the 1 thing you are most thankful for today. Maybe do this at the dinner table, breakfast table, in the middle of play time- whenever!
You can say "Tell me something good" and then start by saying your own thing.
Let "Tell me something good" become a family tradition by doing it every single day.
There's all kinds of research about practicing gratitude. I already shared above how being a good model is important. Model gratitude. Now is the perfect time to start.
One easy tip to keep things on track: use errorless learning. That means preventing errors.
If you need your child to speak respectfully, jump in and model/demonstrate what to say before the grumpy/sassy back talk even comes out of their mouth.
Mom: "I need you to finish this assignment, then you can have free time."
Kid: starts grumbling, rolls eyes, whining noises, etc.
Mom jumps in: "Yes ma'am."
Kid (even if it's begrudgingly): "Yes ma'am."
Model and prevent errors when you need to!
Learn more about errorless learning here.
Now that we are doing home schooling or crisis schooling, one of the biggest issues parents are complaining about is this: struggling to get through school assignments.
To avoid power struggles, we've got to find a way to keep our kids on task to actually complete their school work!
One quick idea: give lots of positive reinforcement DURING school work time, not just at the END.
As they are working, give a high five, a pat on the back, a smile, a praise statement, a compliment, etc. You don't need to stop them mid-task and give a reward like candy or screen time, but some good praise and attention along the way can make a BIG difference!
Don't wait til the end to give good reinforcement. Give little bits throughout and then a bigger reward when the whole school task is done.
Increase the positives. Decrease the power struggles. It can help all of us right now!
If you are using positive reinforcement, you are giving rewards and GOOD stuff when your child listens to you. But can we also use this to increase connection? How about you DO the GOOD stuff together?
Instead of giving your kid a reward and walking away, join them for a few minutes. That's where the relationship building magic happens.
Examples to try:
--Play a favorite board game as a reward
--Free time- mom plays for the first 5 minutes, then gets back to her work
--Reward of getting to stay up late- 10 extra minutes WITH mom or dad reading together
You don't have to give up all your nonexistent free time. Just a few minutes can make a big difference! Do the reward WITH your child. In behavior science speak, you are pairing yourself with reinforcement which then makes you more reinforcing to your child.
Real talk: do fun stuff together. Give the best things as rewards for listening to mom. Build connection and build up the behavior of actually listening to mom at the same time. Boom.
This at home life is no joke. The stressors are everywhere. Give yourself and your kids a lot of grace. Behavior speak, give extra chances and more positive reinforcement. We got this!
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