By Melissa Ford
A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed the brilliant teachers of Pilgrim Nursery School. They offered so many useful parenting tips that I decided to feature them again. Read on to discover their recommendations on handling cranky kids, offering choices, encouraging self-expression and scheduling time to play at home.
Poor Behavior: Here’s a great piece of advice from Ruth Martin, Executive Director at Pilgrim, when your child is exhibiting behavior you don’t like. “Give it two weeks and see if the behavior is still there. If you make a big deal out of it - you’ll be living with it for months.”
Self-Expression: Let your child be who s/he is instead of a version of who you’d like him or her to be. If your preschooler wants to wear a costume to school, let him enter the classroom dressed to express. Think of the memories!
Cranky Kids: Feed your children healthy snacks when they get cranky. Often their moods swing due to low blood sugar. (This also works for parents, too!)
Choices: Make choosing easy by limiting your child’s choice between two things. But remember, once you offer a choice, be happy with whatever your child chooses.
Draw a Line in the Sand: Children want to know what to expect. They want to know what the rules are because it makes them feel safe, taken care of, and they trust you. When you are “in charge,” follow through on what you say you will do. For example, if you tell your child, “I’m leaving now,” then leave. If you do, then your child will trust that you will return. You teach your child that you are true to your word.
Die on that Hill: Ask yourself this important question when you want your child to do something and s/he has a different agenda: "Am I willing to die on that hill?" This question encourages you to pause, reflect and clearly identify your wants versus your values.
Play at Home: Kids are so over programmed. Stay at home with uninterrupted periods of time to play and create with the least amount of intervention by you as possible. If you see play getting out of hand, then redirect your child and give him another start.
Keep a Record: Every month or two, go to your computer and write about what your child is up to now! Record their ages and stages and consider this question: What’s my favorite thing happening now? What are sweet, funny things my child says? What do I love about my child? (I used to write down funny things my kids would say. When my husband would travel to Minneapolis for work, my son used to ask, "When is Dad coming back from ‘Too-Many-Apples?'”)
Precious: Every age and stage is precious. . . Enjoy them all!