If you have a toddler or preschooler, you know what a struggle it becomes to get anything done. And it’s a struggle that goes on all day, everyday. While they are building confidence and finding their individuality and independence, you find yourself thinking “I can have this done in 2 seconds, but it’s taking him 2 minutes!” And it’s okay to feel that frustration! But there are some tricks that teachers use that can help you.Think about it — you spend ten minutes trying to get your child’s jacket on and it’s a fight the entire time. His teacher at school gets his jacket, and 20 others, on and out the door in three minutes. How does she do it? Here are tips from teachers on how to get your young children to cooperate, while you save your sanity.
Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Teachers don’t negotiate or continue to say “okay, just one more cookie”. When it’s time for the kids to get to work, the teacher says it once and the kids do it. And if they don’t, there are consequences.But parents often say one thing “We are going to do homework right now,” but then get talked into letting their child play for another five minutes, and then another five after that.But where to start? Start by giving a few gentle (but firm) warnings starting five minutes before it’s time to leave the playground or start homework. Once five minutes are up, announce definitively and matter-of-factly what is going to happen. It may take a few times for your child to know that you mean business, but after that it will be smooth sailing.
A Race Against . . . Themselves!
Don’t let your child dawdle. If left up to my son, he will take an hour to eat one meal! Our first strategy was to set the timer, giving him a certain amount of time to finish a meal.But another fun idea I heard recently was to have him race against himself. This helps him both hurry and learn time management. All you need is a stopwatch, and then to create a chart that shows the results each time your child finishes a specific task (in our case, it’s eating). At the end of the week, as long as he doesn’t exceed a certain time (say, 20 minutes), he gets a special treat (a Disney movie and popcorn).
Get Your Child’s Attention
One of the biggest issues I have with my kids is getting them to pay attention. I find the tips here for this problem both useful and easy.The first is to sing instead of yell. Kids hear singing and they automatically quiet down. So instead of yelling, I just sing my request. The kids immediately perk up to hear what I’m singing, and they also forget what they were doing beforehand! This one really works!Also, keep your instructions short and concise. Preschoolers can’t understand complex instructions. So if your little one is jumping off the couch, don’t try to explain why it’s a bad idea and how they can hurt themselves or others, first just say “Get down” firmly. Once they’ve complied, then you can explain.
Do you have any secret tips that work on children? Another one I’ve heard is whispering, but that doesn’t seem to work on mine!