Do you feel like a broken or stuck recorder? Repeating the same instructions day in and day out. As soon as a regular school routine sets in, it does bring parents lots of relief but it also means coping against time. Brush your teeth, do your homework, go to bed, wake up - as parents it feels like we are a stuck record!
Today's blog helps you to apply easy strategies to get your children to not only listen to you but also follow through on auto-pilot!
How do I get my child to follow a routine without repeating myself?
Today we will look at strategies in which you can communicate in a manner that your child understands and thereby follows the everyday routine without constantly being reminded by you.
1) Have a list of to-dos put up where your child can see it. If your child is too young then put up photos, visuals of the things you want him to do before going to school – like brushing teeth, combing hair, taking his lunch box etc. In the case of older children you can just put up reminder lists where they see them and follow through.
2) Before you start to say something to your child or give him instructions to follow, check whether you have his attention. Just the way when you are busy reading this email and someone calls for your attention, you are so rapt in reading this, that you miss out half the words. In the same way if your child is doing something, then check whether he is listening to you.
3) After you have got his attention, make eye contact and speak to him. And the best way to teach your child the skills of eye contact is when you model it for him. So when you are reading this and your child calls out, you need to stop looking at your computer or phone and turn and look at your child. This models to your child the importance of eye contact when speaking and listening to others.
4) As a parent you are in a position of authority, however it is important to see his point of view. Is your child engrossed in his favourite activity, just the way you get absorbed by your favourite TV serial, that you blank out the rest of the world. Sometimes children are enjoying themselves watching their TV serial, reading a book or activity that they unconsciously block you out. So see your child’s point of view when giving him instructions.
5) Seek your child’s cooperation by firstly asking him in a tone, which is warm, loving and firm. There is no need to give orders. Give your child a choice of time or activity asking him if he could do the required task immediately or prefer to do it after 15 minutes. That way you empower your child and make him feel responsible by gaining his cooperation. This also helps to inculcate decision-making skills by making choices.
6) KISS – keep your instructions and communication short and simple. On busy school days children are on limited time, and to make the most of what you want them to do make your communication simple and to the point.
Action: Together with your child put together a to-do list he needs to follow before school and after he comes back from school. When you do this together, he has a say in it and feels responsible for completing the tasks.
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