Being a parent or a caregiver is not a simple task. Child rearing is something that always needs improvement or adjustments as your child grows and develops. Children of the twenty-first century have exposure to a lot more environmental influences than the previous generations. In the twenty-first century there are video games, DVD players, computer games, and electronic toys that influence how children think and interact with the environment. Children are maturing more quickly due to the information they are exposed through the media, adults and their peers. For this reason, child rearing can become a difficult task for the caregivers, especially the busy caregiver.
Notice that your child’s attention is usually engulfed in another task when you want them to do something, or stop doing something. When children become determined and persistent it seems like they are ignoring the caregiver. The most important thing in the practice of child rearing is consistency. If you ignore misbehavior occasionally and correct a child for the same behavior a few times you are practicing inconsistency. If you are inconsistent you are telling the child that you are confused and unsure. Once the child sees you are unsure the misbehavior will continue.
Whenever you give instructions to your child make eye contact with them rather than shouting instructions while you are cooking Sunday dinner. In addition to making eye contact bent down to their level. Coming down to the child’s level makes it clear you are trying to identify with the child rather than rule over. Remember your feelings when your supervisor was last standing over you while you were in your office cubical giving you directions. Not a comfortable feeling, right? Imagine how your two or three year old must feel when you are towering over them giving orders. When you sit or stoop down to a child’s level to give instructions and direction it is more likely to be accepted. When instructions are accepted compliance is more likely to occur as well.
When giving instructions such as, “clean your room” be specific of the tasks that are needed to achieve the goal. Cleaning a room is a vague instruction and the child may rearrange items to make it appear less cluttered rather than clean. For this reason you want to give specific directions. Tell your child to do something like the following: put your toys in the trunk, place your dirty clothes in the basket, line your shoes against the wall, or make your bed. Once you have given these specific instructions consistently more than once your child will learn what you mean when you say “clean your room”. Keep in mind that every child is different. Some children may understand right away what you expect from the statement “clean your room” while others may simple do something minor to try and get by.
Giving directions to your child should be done in steps. In giving instructions you do not want to overwhelm the child with too many tasks to complete at once. Yet again keep in mind the last time some one listed off six or seven task for you to complete within 20 minutes. Try giving your child one or two steps at a time. If you want your child to clean his or her room, be specific of two things you would like them to do. Once those two things have been done give out another two steps. If two tasks at a time is too much try one task at a time. It may be a slower process than you prefer but it is more effective. Following a few cycles of doing it the “hard way”, the child will eventually learn your expectations and function in a more disciplined fashion.
Listening and following directions is a skill that is learned by all individuals. Give your child the opportunity to learn to listen through an active listening process you teach them. When giving your child instructions, make eye contact, come down to their level and voice (don’t yell) the instructions or tasks you want the child to complete. If the task is especially difficult or takes a long time give the child a reward. Allow the child to come up with the reward idea with you through brainstorming. If the reward is something the child truly wants and desires it will be all the more appreciated. When the child appreciates the reward it reinforces the good behavior and cooperation.