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I am not a parenting expert by any means, but over the years I have picked up on a few extremely simple behavior fixes for kids. My degree in psychology and multiple teaching certificates laid a good foundation, but being at home with my children for the past 13 years has taught me a lot about children . . . at least about my own children.
I am not a perfect parent and I do not have perfect children. Some days are hard. Some days are really hard.
When we have bad days I try to stop, take a deep breath, and ask myself a few questions.
- Are they hungry?
- Are they tired?
- Am I allowing them some independence?
(Sometimes we need to ask ourselves the same questions about ourselves!)
The vast majority of my family’s behavior problems can be solved by fixing these simple problems.
Simple Behavior Fixes for Kids
Offer a healthy snack
Sometimes kids get extremely emotional when they start to get hungry. Being ‘hangry’ can be the first sign of hunger. I can always tell when one of my kids is hungry because there is lots of muttering under the breath and eye rolling. A healthy snack turns this around instantly. The funny thing is that if I ask this child if they are hungry they say no. For whatever reason they do not feel hungry.
Some of our favorite options include:
- cheese sticks
- peanut butter with apple slices
- tuna fish and crackers
- Lara bars
A weekly meal plan and shopping list helps me make sure we are always stocked with healthy options.
Require quiet time
We do not have daily quiet time now that my kids are older, but some days they do need the extra rest. If they did not sleep well at night they need to make up for it or we all suffer the consequences. In general, kids need this much sleep:
- School aged kids – 9-11 hours
- Teens – 8-10
I think they need even more when they are going through a growth spurt.
My kids rarely nap anymore, but a quiet reprieve in their bedrooms can really help them calm down. Some time alone to read a favorite book, draw, or just daydream gives them the space to work through their emotions.
It is hard to let go. At one point in time we had to do literally every single thing and make every single decision. These kids are constantly growing though, and sometimes we need to let them do things on their own. My kids get very frustrated when I try to micromanage them. I usually don’t even realize that I’m doing it until I notice that their feathers are ruffled. Think of the eye roll and sigh as the tween version of a toddler yelling, “I can do it myself!”
Honestly, this suggestion is the hardest for me. I have to keep reminding myself that my goal is to work myself out of a job.
The good news is that this means kids are ready for more chores/responsibilities too. My kids start helping with their laundry when they are old enough to choose their own clothes. They start cleaning the kitchen after dinner when they are old enough to provide input on menu selection.
Obviously these simple behavior fixes will not work for every issue. They won’t take the place of consistency, fair rules, or medical intervention. They really do help eliminate a lot of the little behavior issues in my home though, helping create a happy home environment.
What simple behavior fixes work the best in your home?
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