Have you ever marveled at the order that your child’s teacher maintains in the classroom? The kids are cooperative and well-behaved, they follow directions, and they maintain a positive level of respect for their teacher. Transfer the classroom model of good behavior into your home with these teacher-tested tips:
Establish a routine. At school, your child follows a routine that guides and shapes the daily schedule. Although carefree summer days are usually viewed as the antithesis of scheduling, a regular routine may be just what your child needs to maintain continuity and a sense of purpose. “Whether related to doing homework, doing chores or getting ready for bed, children benefit from learning to follow a routine,” says Dr. Kenneth Shore, a school and family psychologist and the author of The Elementary Teacher’s Discipline Problem Solver: A Practical A-Z Guide for Managing Classroom Behavior Problems.
Expect respect. Your child respects his or her teacher, so why expect anything less as a parent? While it’s natural for your child to be more relaxed and comfortable at home around family, a level of respect should always be maintained. Shore suggests that if a child acts or speaks disrespectfully to a parent, use the situation as a teaching moment rather than letting it pass. “[Be] clear and direct (while avoiding confrontation) with them about what they did that was disrespectful, and insist that that kind of behavior is unacceptable,” he says.
(Get them to) listen up. It may feel like you’re spending the entire summer endlessly repeating yourself, so work on getting your children to listen to you the first time. “Avoid getting in the habit of repeating what you are saying,” Shore says, “because then your child will learn to not listen the first time, confident that you will repeat what you said. Begin your directions by saying: ‘I’m only saying this one time.’”
Keep siblings smiling. It isn’t always easy to avoid conflict between siblings, especially when they are continually home together during the summer months. “It is important that parents avoid comparing siblings to each other, which often breeds conflict between them,” he says. “Try to find successes and accomplishments with each that you can praise and highlight. Sibling conflict is less likely when each child feels he or she has some special area where he or she has been acknowledged and encouraged.”