As parents most of us begin teaching our kids how to count, know their colors, and their ABCs but there’s more to it then that to get them ready for school. Social behaviour readiness is as
important, if not more so than abc’s. I know, I just run a babysitting agency and what right do I have to speak to other topics
besides babysitting. I don’t but have you ever asked yourself how can I bring up my children so that when they enter school the teacher will have time to teach my children reading, writing, math, art, and music and not have to spend time helping your children understand consequences, acceptable behavior in public, the importance of sharing, working in a classroom setting, etc?
Some parenting techniques I see utilized with children are not conducive to real life. We wonder why our children aren’t getting a proper education and some of that is due to the lack of parents teaching their children social behaviors that are important for the classroom to be able to operate smoothly and efficiently without temper-tantrums, screaming fits, classroom interference because a child seeks attention. Teachers usually have 20+ kids per classroom and though you may have a lot of time and not use the word “no” to explain why a behavior is inappropriate a teacher doesn’t have that luxury. If a child isn’t getting their own way, isn’t paying attention, running out of control during a field trip teachers are being taken away from their primary function, and that is; educating our children.
Here are a few, and I mean few, suggestions:
1. Make sure your kids can understand social situations. This skill will help them assess situations with others, avoid trouble when dealing with others. This skill will give them the opportunity to decide how they are going to interact or react to a situation. What will they do if a child isn’t sharing, what if they don’t want to share. Once children aren’t around you have you given them the skills to operate independently appropriately. If your child sees a bunch of kids who usually tease and bully others, the skill of reading social situations will help him stay away from that group, rather than gravitate toward it.
I feel, when you and your children are in public it is inappropriate to let them run wild without supervision. Even if you are taking them to child friendly places they still need to know how to be courteous, kind to others and respectful of adults. If you are taking them somewhere (like gymnastics for example) they shouldn’t be allowed to be monkeys before the class and jump on the waiting room furniture, run willy-nilly through the same room, etc. If you allow your children to play roughly on your furniture at your home that is fine but remember part of your fees for registration is for upkeep of the facility and that includes the furniture. Also teaching children respect for other’s property is very important so when they go play at other people’s homes they understand that it isn’t acceptable and will be a good guest.
2. Can your children manage their emotions? Have you taught your children that their emotions are valid but also; when is it an appropriate time to express them and how to express them? I’ve actually dealt with adults who can’t regulate their emotions. This skill is enabled when you, as the parent, ask them why they are acting out in such a way that is harmful or disruptive and suggest better ways to handle what they’re feeling. Help them find the skills they need to be successful in life and how to express themselves without losing total control due to intense feelings. Let them know how you are feeling when you are having an intense feeling and how you are dealing with it. Children learn by example.
3. This is the last step I will mention and this one, I believe, is very important. Remember parenting is the key to avoiding labels being placed onto our children like “bad kid”. Letting your children know that there are consequences for poor choices will help them understand when rules or boundaries are crossed. These consequences don’t have to be harsh but they do need to be consistent AND something the child views as punishment. I like to tell parents that it is our responsibility to teach our children about real life and that when an adult makes a bad choice i.e exceeding the speed limit and a police man pulls them over they don’t get an ice cream cone while he writes them a ticket he just writes them a ticket and the punishment is they have to pay for that ticket which can be painful and long lasting.
As a child matures they will be need to adjust certain behaviors in order to appropriately problem solve every situation as it occurs. As children grow check in with them and ask the hard questions about school, peers, and decisions they make and how they may have been able to handle situations better OR compliment them on doing the right thing.
Raising children to be successful in life is the primary purpose of parents. It is hard, and it is hard to strike a balance between enjoying your children and making sure they are safe and have excellent skills to operate in a highly social (both online and in person) relationships and guiding them to successful adulthood. It is even more difficult when both parents work and exhaustion is at the end of the day just when the kids are so excited to see you and are ramped up with energy. All you want to do is turn on the TV, call for pizza delivery, and just relax but there is homework to be done, soccer practice, scouts, etc and the kids are not listening and though you’ve put rules in place you have no energy to follow-through (no one blames you) but remember that if you choose not to follow through on set limits every time….EVERY TIME then you will continue to have children that will test limits because one time they can get away with it is an invitation to them that sometimes they CAN get away with stuff!