Telling your children what to do can be tricky. There are instances when they would follow you, but there are times when they pretend not even to hear from you. Since you understand the importance of these reminders, you get irritated if you’re deliberately ignored. For instance, if you want to tell them to hydrate regularly, it feels bad if they don’t listen. Even if you use the Big Berkey water filter at home, it won’t suffice if your children don’t even drink water. Remind them to bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated at all times. These tips will make it even easier for them to remember what you say.
Avoid screaming at them
You can’t expect a change in behavior if you scream to offer reminders. It could turn into two negative possibilities. The first one is that the children get used to your screams that they no longer care. You could also make them fearful of you, and they follow your words against their will. When they grow up, it could adversely impact your relationship. Besides, it’s exhausting to always resort to screaming to get your message across.
Leave some notes
A friendly way of leaving reminders is through notes. When you pack your children’s lunchboxes, you can leave a sticky note inside. It makes them feel good because they remember you. It also shows how much you love them. These notes may include simple reminders like drinking water or something deeper, like being kind to others. Even in your absence, the children will feel like you’re close by.
Send a friendly text
If sticky notes wouldn’t suffice, you can send a friendly text. Use smileys or emojis to convey your message. It reminds young children that you’re not using your screaming voice while typing. It’s also another way of saying that you miss them. Even if you’re busy with work, you can still find a way to communicate with them, and it means a lot.
There might be times when your children are too difficult to deal with. Apart from ignoring you, they will even talk back. They will tell you how terrible your rules are. It’s frustrating, especially if you taught them to be kind and respectful. Despite how you feel, you should control yourself. It doesn’t help if you argue with them too. Your conversation would go nowhere. Allow your children to calm down and realize what they said. Eventually, they will come around and see the mistake committed. Besides, you already have a lot to deal with. You can’t allow this minor squabble at home to stress you out even further.
If the behavior is recurring, it might be time for a more serious conversation. These impolite responses could be a sign of deeper friction in the family. For instance, your children might go against what you want, not because your request is impossible to do. It could be a way of expressing dislike because you had a fight with your partner that your children overheard. Be more open in discussing these issues, so they don’t escalate.
Follow a reward and punishment system
Some parents rely on a punishment or reward system to change the behavior of their children. There’s nothing wrong about it as long as you don’t depend on this strategy all the time. Life isn’t always transactional. However, for a start, it could work. Make sure that your children are involved in determining the rewards and punishments. They will feel more responsible since they took part in creating the system.
Eventually, your children will remember doing the right thing even if there’s nothing in exchange. Don’t forget to come up with a fair reward system and proportional to the actions done. Otherwise, your children will abuse it. Conversely, you can’t be too harsh in punishing them. Again, behavioral changes should happen out of the willingness to do so, and not out of fear or guilt.
Be a good role model
You can’t expect your children to do the right thing when you’re doing otherwise. For instance, you can’t expect them to eat healthily if your house is filled with junk foods that you love. You also can’t expect them to be more mild-mannered if you scream all the time. Your actions will most likely affect the way your children behave. Don’t tell them to avoid things you can’t. If you do, you should be willing to change your behavior too. Once they see you being inconsistent in following the rules you set, they will never listen to you again.
Don’t expect immediate changes
Allow your children to commit mistakes, and don’t be angry about it. They’re still figuring out the right thing to do under different circumstances. Behaviors gradually change over time, and you have to be patient.
Always come from a place of love
Regardless of how you remind your children, you always have to come from a place of love. You want them to change and be better because you love them. Some parents want to change their children’s behavior because they don’t want to be embarrassed. It’s not about your reputation, but on letting your children do the right thing.
Appreciate small changes
Even if your children don’t follow everything you say, it’s not a reason to be angry or frustrated. It would help if you celebrated small wins. It means that your children are taking steps in the right direction. Eventually, they will do what’s right, even without being told.
Learn to say thank you or good job if they have done something you appreciate. It tells your children that you can observe these changes, and you like what you see. It motivates them to do even better. If they didn’t do as you told, be more understanding. Encourage them to keep working hard to change their behavior. Please don’t be angry at them, or they might think it’s worthless to follow you since you will be mad anyway.