Heathy Discipline Strategies
When you hear the word “discipline,” what springs to mind? If you’re like a lot of people, you think of punishment. In truth, discipline simply means guidance, teaching someone to follow the rules, and there are healthier ways to manage this with your children than by punishing them. Here, we offer some tips to help you find healthy strategies for discipline that will help you guide your children to a healthy adulthood.
Punishment Vs. Positive Reinforcement
Traditionally, discipline has involved punishments like spanking, grounding, angry words, and taking away belongings or privileges. Child development experts now agree that physical punishment can have long-term negative effects on a child’s behavior and well-being, but what about the other types of punishment? Experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, now recommend using positive discipline to keep children safe, teach them to manage their own behavior, and promote healthy development.
What is Positive Discipline?
Positive discipline focuses on developing a healthy relationship with your child, setting expectations around behavior. This approach can help parents teach skills like cooperation, responsibility, and self-discipline, while building and maintaining positive relationships between parents and children.
Employing Positive Discipline Strategies
- Nurture your relationship with your child. Plan one on one time with your child, giving your complete focus, without being distracted by anything like the television or your phone. It’s easy to connect with little children, simply by playing with them and reading to them. With older kids and teens, it’s a little more complicated, but find ways to connect by taking an interest in what they’re doing and the thing they enjoy.
- Give positive reinforcement. It’s been said that you should try to “catch them being good.” Notice when your children live up to expectations, follow the rules, take initiative, or do something thoughtful, and take the time to praise them. Offer incentives for good behavior, rather than threatening punishment for bad behavior. When children are praised, they feel loved and special; when rewards are offered for doing the right thing, they’re less likely to misbehave.
- Make sure your expectations are clear. It’s more effective to tell children what you want them to do, rather than telling them what you don’t want to do. Saying, “pick up your toys and put them away in the toy box,” for example, is much clearer than saying “don’t make a mess.” Be realistic about what you expect out of kids, and make sure your expectations are age appropriate and within the child’s capability. If you have older kids or teens, let them be involved in setting house rules and expectations, so that you will all be on the same page.
- Learn the art of redirection. Sometimes, the easiest way to stop misbehavior is to distract the child with a different, positive activity. Change the subject, introduce a game, take the child to another room, or go for a walk. Employ this type of distraction before things go wrong, when you see that’s the direction they’re heading. Additionally, remember that misbehavior is sometimes simply the result of a child exploring the world in a way that’s developmentally appropriate, but situationally inappropriate. Redirecting to another way to explore can prevent an unsafe, messy, or embarrassing situation.
- Understand how to employ consequences. Sometimes, clear expectations, incentives, and positive reinforcement work beautifully. When they don’t consequences sometimes need to come into play. Part of growing up is learning that there are consequences for our actions, and helping your children learn this in a calm, safe space can help encourage better behavior and teach them about responsibility. If your children are misbehaving, explain the consequences if the bad behavior does not stop. Give them a warning and the opportunity to amend their behavior. If they don’t stop what they’re doing, apply the consequence, calmly, without anger. If they do stop, give plenty of praise. When you do use consequences, use logical or natural consequences. Here’s an example of a logical consequence: if a child won’t eat dinner, that child cannot have dessert. Here’s a natural consequence: if a child dumps water on the floor, the child needs to help clean up the water. No anger needs to be involved in this scenario, and you can even use it as an exercise in problem solving, identifying the problem and asking your child to help you figure out how to solve it.
- Use time out wisely. Time-outs can be effective, but only if they’re used correctly. Make sure your kids have had plenty of positive time with you, and use time outs as a way to regulate emotions. Removing a child from a situation in which he or she is misbehaving gives the child an opportunity to self-regulate, appropriately express emotions, and consider how to make different choices next time. One meaningful way to do this is with a “time-in,” in which the parent sits with the child and helps in the calming process. You might try deep breathing together, sit quietly, or give your child a hug. The idea is to use the quiet space to help your child self-regulate emotions, with your support.
How to Keep from Losing Your Cool
- Take some deep breaths. You can be present but still step back, pause, and take some deep breaths, so that you can respond in a calmer, more considered way.
- Give yourself a time out. If you feel like you’re about to lose control, step away from the situation. You can even use this as an opportunity to model self-regulation, by telling your children calmly that you need five minutes to yourself, so that you can stop feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice self-care. Sometimes, we get angry at our kids because we feel pushed past our limits. Try to keep yourself from getting to that point by doing things you enjoy, managing your stress, and being realistic about the responsibilities you manage. Take some time to take care of yourself, and you can come back to your parenting refreshed and more relaxed, which can help you have more patience.
Help With Starting a Family
At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow and nurture their happy families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
The Delicate Work-Life Balance of Work from Home Parents
It’s a conundrum faced by many work from home parents. One of the reasons many of us work from home is to be more present for our children, yet children tend to get in the way of work. How do we strike a balance between providing financially for our families, yet being there for our children when they need us. How do we maintain productivity, while taking care of our children? We have some helpful tips on balancing child care while working from home.
Don’t Believe the Influencers
Working from home, either completely or partially, is the new normal, with 58 percent of Americans reporting that they can work from home at least once a week. It’s inevitable that you will come across work from home parents on Instagram, in spotlessly clean homes, with perfectly behaved children and beautifully organized offices. Don’t believe the hype. If you are struggling to keep your head above water while working from home with children, you are certainly not alone. Being a work from home parent can be truly rewarding, but it’s not easy, and it does require creativity, flexibility, and careful planning.
Have a Strategy
Actually, it’s better if you have a few. Be realistic with your expectations, and what’s going to happen when your children are home. Will they stay quiet when you’re in a meeting? Even the most well-behaved kids are, well, kids. They’re going to have wants, needs, and crises that don’t always fit neatly into your work schedule. Here are some strategies you may find effective:
- Work during naps. The great thing about babies and toddlers is that they sleep a lot. Some even keep a nap schedule until kindergarten! Use this time wisely, focusing on your most intensive tasks, or scheduling meetings during nap time.
- Plan activities they can do alone. Activity boxes are a godsend for a work from home parent, and you can purchase them or create your own, using different themes to keep it interesting. Have arts and crafts, games, books, and building toys at the ready, so that you can get your children settled doing something that will occupy their minds and free up your time.
- Shift your mindset on screen time. As parents, most of us try to keep screentime to a minimum. If you had really strict standards before you started working from home, you might want to rethink that attitude. There’s nothing quite like an animated movie or a game on a tablet to hold a child’s attention, so that you can put your attention on something else. Don’t overdo the screentime, but keep it in reserve for when you desperately need some peace and quiet.
- Build your schedule around theirs. Maybe this means doing shift work, planning your schedule around when the kids are sleeping or at school. It could also mean planning to work not only during school hours, but in the waiting room at doctor’s appointments, on the soccer field, at the dance studio, or while your child has a music lesson. The secret to successfully working from home is to remain creative and flexible.
- Let some things go. If your kids load the dishwasher and put away their laundry while you’re working, you can be sure it’s not going to be done perfectly. That’s ok! Ease up on your expectations of a clean house, and on the demands you put on yourself, letting others take over some tasks, even if they don’t do them as well as you would. Take a look at your extracurricular schedule, too. When parents work from home, people often put extra demands on them to volunteer or take on little tasks. Learn how to say no, and that being a good parent doesn’t necessarily mean being at the school every time a volunteer opportunity arises.
- Be present. Try to limit the amount of time you spend multi-tasking. If you’re with your kids, be with your kids. If you’re working, make it clear that you’re working. Focus on what you are doing, be present in the moment, and you’ll find that you feel a lot less stressed and pulled in different directions.
Get Some Help
There’s no rule that says work from home parents have to go it alone. If your children are preschool age, consider a mother’s morning out program, to give you a day or two of dedicated work time each week. You might also be able to find a neighborhood tween who’d like to act as “mother’s helper,” playing with your children after school for a reasonable fee. If your children are a little older, arrange playdates. Ideally, look for other work at home parents who are interested in working out some sort of cooperative routine, swapping childcare responsibility on a regular basis.
With babies, there’s not much you can do. With older kids, though, you can teach them to leave you alone while you’re working. This requires some patience on your part and practice on theirs, and you also need to be careful not to be working so much that they feel they never have your attention. Work out a signal that means “do not disturb,” but also let them know when it’s ok for them to come and hang out with you while you work.
When you work from home, it’s tempting to work all the time, but it’s not good for your family life or your mental and physical health. Set hours for work, and be firm about the hours you’re not working. Occasionally, take a mental health day, to relax with your family or practice some self-care.
Center for Vasectomy Loves Helping Parents
We hope these tips helped you get a handle on how to find work-life balance while you’re working from home. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children
As parents, we are concerned about our children’s intelligence. This includes emotional intelligence, and raising emotionally intelligent children is vital to their future success. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand, and manage emotions, both in ourselves and in others. Developing emotional intelligence helps people navigate relationships successfully, make good decisions, and manage stress. How can you foster an emotionally intelligent home environment in order to equip your child with the skills needed to understand and express their emotions in a healthy way?
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, called EQ, benefits a person throughout his or her lifetime. However, a low EQ can create challenges. Here are some emotional intelligence benefits:
- EQ and IQ are connected. Children with high emotional intelligence tend to have higher grades and do better on standardized tests.
- People with EQ have better relationships. Kids with emotional intelligence are better able to manage conflict and build deep friendships. Adults with high EQ report better personal and professional relationships.
- A child with high EQ is likely to be a more successful adult. Over 19 years, the American Journal of Public Health studied the social and emotional skills of kindergarteners and how those skills impacted their adulthood. The research showed that those who were better able to share, cooperate, and follow directions when they were five years old were more likely to have college degrees and full-time jobs by age 25.
- Those with high EQ struggle less with mental health issues. They are less likely to experience depression and other mental illnesses.
It makes sense that an emotionally intelligent child, able to calm his or her angry feelings and express emotions in a healthy way, will grow to be an adult who is better able to maintain healthy relationships. Fortunately, all children can learn emotional intelligence skills. Here’s how you can help your children develop theirs.
Be a Good Role Model
This means working on your own emotional intelligence. Model positive behavior for your children, showing them that they can express their feelings in a healthy way, listen to other people, and successfully work through conflicts. Let them see you responding to challenging situations with patience, and take the time to talk to them about their feelings. Use feeling words in conversation, and help your child learn to express their own emotions.
Help Kids Name Their Emotions
To become an emotionally intelligent person, a child needs to develop the vocabulary for emotional expression. Help your children put words to their emotions, by talking through what you suspect they’re feeling. To a child who doesn’t want to share a toy, you might say, “It looks like you feel angry. Is that right?” For a child who is sad, you might say, “Are you feeling disappointed that your friend can’t come over?” Using words like angry, upset, painful, shy, along with happy, joy, thrilled, excited, and hopeful, can help teach your child the vocabulary necessary for emotionally intelligent self-expression.
Emotions have merit and serve a purpose. The adrenaline spike of anger can spur someone to action, while the down mood you feel when your sad slows you down and gives you time to reflect. Your child’s feelings are real and valuable, so when your child is expressing emotions, listen carefully, giving your full attention. Reflect what you’re hearing back to your child, to express that you understand what is being felt and expressed.
It’s easy to minimize what someone else is feeling, especially if it seems like the person is exaggerating or being dramatic. Being dismissive, though, teaches children that their feelings are wrong. Showing empathy does not mean that you agree with the person’s point of view, but that you understand how that emotion feels. It is important for your child to feel heard and understood, and when you show empathy to your child, allowing the expression of emotions without judgement, you are teaching your child to be not only honest with his or her own emotions, but empathetic to others as well.
Teach Coping and Problem-solving Skills
Look at your child’s emotions as an opportunity to connect and coach him or her through a challenging situation. Teach children that while emotions are acceptable, all behaviors are not ok. Set limits that encourage appropriate behaviors, and help your child manage emotions in a healthy way. You might teach a child to take deep breaths to calm down from anger, or you could help your child create a “calm-down kit”, with a coloring book, soothing music, good-smelling lotions, and other things that help your child regulate emotions. In addition to helping your children cope with their own emotions, help them develop the ability to think critically and find creative solutions to problems. Once you’ve identified the feelings, work with your child on brainstorming ideas to fix what’s gone wrong. They don’t all have to be good ideas; the goal is just to learn to brainstorm. You can also use role-playing scenarios to determine how to address a problem in the future. Act as a coach in the problem solving process, don’t solve the problems for them. Teaching your children to find creative ways to solve their problems will make them more resilient and better able to handle the challenges that come their way in the future.
Help Kids Become More Self Aware
It’s important to encourage your child to express feelings and thoughts, but along with that should come a sense of self-awareness. Give them a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment in which to express themselves, and teach them to use creative activities to express their feelings. Then work with them on self-awareness, helping them learn to recognize their own feelings and notice how those feelings affect their judgment and behavior.
Give Praise for Progress
When you praise effort and progress, you demonstrate that you appreciate your child’s hard work. This can help motivate them to strive for success, and can help boost their emotional intelligence. You want your child to feel confident, and you also want to foster a mindset focused on growth. By focusing on progress, rather than only acknowledging accomplishment, you can help your child stay focused on growing and learning. Use mistakes as an opportunity to learn, and talk about how to better handle similar situations in the future. Admit to your child when you make mistakes, too, and make growing in emotional intelligence an ongoing aspiration for each person in your family.
Center for Vasectomy Reversal Loves Helping Parents
We hope these tips helped give you insight on fostering emotional intelligence in your children. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Creativity is Important
Creative intelligence involves developing new ideas and concepts, using the imagination. People who are creatively intelligent have strong problem solving and critical thinking skills, and can express themselves in unique ways. Recent research indicates that young adults feel happier and are more active when they are engaged in creative pursuits. It’s clear that encouraging your children to be creative is important in preparing them to be successful people. But what if your child isn’t artistic? The truth is that every child can be creative given some encouragement. Creativity isn’t limited to the creative arts; it’s about thinking in an original way. People with all types of learning styles can be creative, and a person can be creative in sports, business, technology, math, and more. Practicing creativity from an early age makes people more emotionally intelligent, better problem solvers, more resilient, more expressive, and happier. Are you ready to bring all that out in your child? We have some helpful tips.
Help Your Kids Discover Their Learning Styles
Whenever you’re trying to educate people, it pays to understand their learning styles. Learning is not one-size-fits all, and while some people lean towards auditory or visual learning, others are kinesthetic learners who need hands-on experiences. To determine a child’s learning style, offer a variety of different learning opportunities and see which one works best for your child.
From infancy, give your children the opportunity to explore their environment. Talk to them about the world around them and encourage them to ask questions. This helps them develop a sense of curiosity and teach them to think outside the box. Provide materials to build their creativity, like art supplies, blocks, and puzzles.
Give Kids Opportunities to Express Themselves
Let them try out different types of expressive activities. Give them a chance to express themselves through art, music, writing, painting, clay, musical instruments- anything that will help them creatively explore. Offer different sensory experiences, too, taking your kids to the library, a museum, or just out for a walk. Talk to them, and ask questions that encourage them to think.
Remember that Children Learn Through Play
Kids need free time and unstructured play to develop their creativity. Give them the opportunity to play, imagine, and explore, with no goals or objectives. Imaginative play helps kids develop cognitive skills while enhancing social skills and emotional intelligence, and when kids are free from a schedule or organized activities, their minds can run free and inspire them to create.
Focus on the Progress, Not Achievement
Creativity is a process, not an accomplishment. Ask your kids if they had fun, and what they enjoyed most about what they were creating. When they’re free to let use their imagination without an expectation of achievement, kids come up with some amazing ideas. Writing a story, coming up with an invention, creating a new game- these kinds of activities help kids discover their talents and strengths, fostering a sense of self-confidence.
Make Your Home a Creative Environment
Encourage reading, read to your kids, and read on your own. Choosing books over screens can help everyone in your home be more creative. Take time to be creative, just sitting and drawing, building with Legos, or finding some other way to bond with your child over creative pursuits. Talk about plans and encourage your kids to make their own plans without stifling them. Allow them to have different opinions than you, and encourage lively- (but respectful)- debate. Share your passions with your kids and give them space to share theirs with you, and cover your walls with their art.
Center for Vasectomy Reversal Loves Helping Parents
We hope you enjoy these tips on unlocking your child’s creativity. At the Center for Vasectomy Reversal, we love helping people grow their families. We pride ourselves on helping men improve their fertility through uncompromising, concierge-level patient care. Under the direction of Dr. Joshua Green, our team provides state-of-the-art treatment for men who need a reversal of their vasectomy or have other fertility concerns. To learn more, contact us through our website or call 941-894-6428.
Time-outs can be effective, but only if they’re used correctly. Make sure your kids have had plenty of positive time with you, and use time outs as a way to regulate emotions. Removing a child from a situation in which he or she is misbehaving gives the child an opportunity to self-regulate, appropriately express emotions, and consider how to make different choices next time. One meaningful way to do this is with a “time-in,” in which the parent sits with the child and helps in the calming process. You might try deep breathing together, sit quietly, or give your child a hug. The idea is to use the quiet space to help your child self-regulate emotions, with your support.
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