Positive parenting requires patience, persistence, and being present, but it’s also rewarded with a child that’s more resilient, has better self-regulation, and is better at communicating and empathizing. Here are some simple ways to implement positive parenting at home.
- 1. Set expectations ahead of time
It seems simple but when you go out (for example, you go to the library), you can tell your child “if you want to change spots, say ‘Mommy I’m going’.” That way, if he forgets to tell you, you can interrupt his play and he will be less likely to react negatively.
- 2. If you want a specific outcome, just give two options
Your child is at a phase where they want to make their own choices. Giving them two options that lead to the same outcome is a win-win for you and your child. For example, you can say “do you want to get dressed or do you want daddy to pick your clothes?” or “do you want to clean up yourself or with mommy?”
- 3. ‘Time in’ vs. ‘time out’
We all know what time out is, but what’s ‘time in’? When your child has an outburst, you can put them on ‘time in’. Remove them from the situation and try to talk to them. Name their feelings and choose some ways to calm down together.
- 4. Empathize and name what your child is feeling
Research shows that by trying to understand what your child is feeling and naming their emotions together, your child eventually learns to use their words instead of throwing tantrums. Try saying something like “I understand why you feel upset but hitting hurts people. You can tell her that you don’t like it when she takes your toy.”
- 5. Find a natural consequence for their actions
For example, if your child doesn’t want to wear a jacket, it doesn’t make sense to tell them off. Your child may not even know why they’re being scolded. Instead, let them stand outside and feel that it’s cold. Most of the time, they’ll go to get a jacket themselves. If the natural consequence is dangerous or extreme like wanting to touch a hot pan, you can find a logical consequence like removing them from the kitchen.
- 6. Most of the time, negotiating doesn’t work
If you’ve tried everything and your child is still kicking and screaming, don’t give in and try to negotiate. Most of the time, it ends up being a power struggle and everyone comes out upset. Just remove your child from the situation and sit next to them. You don’t have to say anything, but be present in case they decide to talk. Then, you can use your ‘time in’ techniques.
Remember, positive parenting is an approach, not a short cut. You cannot selectively implement positive parenting and expect quick results - it requires time, effort, and consistency.