- Understanding our own feelings.
Feelings are signposts. Children learn from what they see us do. If we can express our feelings appropriately, they will learn how to do this too.
- Understanding our children's feelings and behaviour.
Feelings fuel behaviour. It takes years to learn to manage our feelings. Many behaviours (such as tantrums) are a natural stage of development - so don't expect too much too soon.
- Listening to our children.
What children need is a good listening too!
Taking time to listen to our children builds trust and honesty. If we listen to our children they will learn to listen to us and to each other.
- Praise is magic!
Praise works wonders! Praise helps children feel good about themselves, so they are more likely to behave well. Praise helps us feel good too - it's no fun having to tell children off all the time.
- Diverting and Distracting.
Diversion - hazard ahead! Young children easily switch their attention to something else that interests them. By offering a different object or activity we can often avoid difficult situations without mentioning any unwanted behaviour.
- Look after yourself!
A recharged battery means a family full of energy. If we neglect ourselves we become exhausted and stressed and then it's much harder to enjoy family life. We owe it to ourselves to recharge our batteries and our families will benefit too.
- Using rewards.
What we pay attention to is what we get more of. Reward effort as well as achievement. Reward little and often and remember that our time, pleasure and attention are the best rewards of all.
- Creating boundaries.
Clear, fair rules help us all feel safe. Children need to test the boundaries in order to feel safe. When they do, we need to be firm without being harsh.
Boundaries are a family affair - everyone needs to agree them and be prepared to stick to them.
- Time to calm down.
We all need time to calm down. When emotions are running high, a cooling off time gives everyone the chance to calm down. Sometimes our children will need to release their frustration or anger safely before they can calm down.
- Giving children choices.
Giving children choices makes them responsible. It is helpful for children gradually to learn to make choices for themselves. We can offer them a choice many times during the day. The choices we offer children need to be ones we're happy to provide - and can describe to them clearly.
- Celebrating family life.
There's no time like the present, and no present like time! Family life is like a treasure hunt - full of hazards, adventures and discoveries to make along the way.
(Taken from Family Links 2005.)