Discipline is about helping children learn how to behave appropriately. A good place to start is by setting up a couple of family rules that instil important values. It is not as daunting as it sounds if you start early, they will catch on easily, resist less and behave better. Here is how to use positive parenting and gentle guidance in day to day activities to raise well-mannered and happy children.
- Courtesy and Respect
We have all walked into a room and children started talking all at the same time at the top of their voices! Besides the excitement when they play, children are naturally competitive and each wants to be heard first. It is important to teach children common courtesy as a value, to not interrupt each other, to pay attention, wait for the other to finish and then say what they want to say. Teach them to be gentle, polite and to always say “Please”, “Excuse me”, Thank you” and “I’m sorry”. Encourage them to look out for and to complement each other’s good qualities.
- Responsibility and Time Management
Cluttered play rooms are a common sight day by day, while it may be easier and faster to pack up after your children, this can be detrimental to their growth. Teach them from an early age, to clean up after themselves and to keep their environment tidy. This teaches them to be organised, responsible and cultivates self -love. Give them age-appropriate chores, for example, asking them to help you with table setting, packing groceries, hanging out laundry, putting toilet rolls in the bathrooms, picking up litter, taking the garbage out etc. Set routines and stick to them, for example enforce an eight-o’clock bedtime during the school term for effective time management.
- Boundaries and Safety
It is embarrassing when children interrupt an adult meeting to report a trivial matter that could be resolved later and in private. Teach children to respect elders including visitors, household staff and teachers at school. Set boundaries for how they will behave around people and also share some safety tips with them for example not to speak to strangers and to always seek your permission and advice.
- Empathy and Compromise
As parents, daily clashes between siblings are the order of the day. They want what they want and now! It’s important for them to learn to look for signs of discomfort and unhappiness whenever playing with others and to stop when they sense distress. While sharing is a great skill to master in life, teach children to respect each other’s stuff and to always ask for permission first if they would like to borrow something. Teach them to learn to accommodate and be responsive to each other’s choices; this improves their emotional intelligence, a necessary quality in navigating relationships through to adulthood.
Raising children in a guided and controlled environment does pay off in the long run. Remember be consistent and children watch what you do.