November 18, 2016
Sometimes, the helpful answer is 'No'
Parents strive to give their children everything they need. But everything they want? That's a different story. Sometimes, saying "no" encourages resourcefulness and helps kids learn to solve problems for themselves. Children must learn to occupy themselves and settle their own disagreements. They must do their own homework. Saying "no" to doing these things for them helps them stand on their own feet.
Decide on consequences before the rule is broken
When your child breaks the rules, you have to take action. But it's best if your child knows the consequences before the rule is broken. For example, "If you don't do your homework, you won't be able to watch TV that night." Establishing limits and consequences in advance keeps your child from feeling picked on, and makes it easier for her to accept that the punishment is fair.
Put family history on the menu this holiday season
Holidays offer your child a great chance to learn and spend time with family. So plan some activities that everyone can share. For example, your child can learn more about family history by interviewing older relatives. He might ask about their arrival in this country, or about unusual experiences they've had. If he won't be seeing family this holiday season, help your child write his questions down in a letter.
A debate game helps your child see both sides
There's usually more than one side to an issue. To help your child practice seeing the pros and cons of an argument, play a debate game. Throw out a statement, such as "Homework should be banned forever." Ask your child to think of all the reasons she can to support her opinion on the subject. Then ask her to think of all the reasons against it. Discuss both sides as a family. Which views were more convincing?
Help your child see the good in others
Young children are naturally self-centered. But you can help your child grow out of this. Encourage him to compliment at least one person at school each day. Explain that his compliments should be sincere, so he'll have to look for good things his friends and teachers do. Each evening, ask your child who he complimented and why.
To pass the time, find words that rhyme
Rhyming games help children increase their vocabularies and general knowledge. And they are easy to play anywhere! If your child is trying to learn the names of the states, for example, say, "I'm thinking of a state that rhymes with plane. What is it?" (Maine). Take turns asking the questions. Or try making rhymes for words on your child's spelling list. Having fun with words develops your child's love of language.
Build your child's enthusiasm for writing
There are lots of ways to help your child think of writing as special and fun. You can give her a supply of interesting paper, and pens in different widths and colors. Or help her make her own stationery on the computer, and encourage her to use it to write thank you notes or letters to relatives. Display samples of your child's writing on a family bulletin board. It sends the message, "I believe you are a writer."