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Written by Feba Maryann     

The advent of parenthood ought to spark tension in all of your restless minds. It is very common to anticipate every move of your child with growing apprehension. Sometimes, you coddle them with all that you can offer because the sky’s the limit. However, even this expanse of white and blue serenity only is a limit if your baby were delivered by a crane. In a less hyperbolic expression, it is your child and you will have to deal with the repercussions of your attempts to provide them with everything under the sun. The sky isn’t the limit and it will remain the same for the rest of your parenting journey. The only thing limitless is the unconditional love you have for your child.   

The onset of the digital age has aided in helping you finish numerous chores whilst your children are distracted by cutesy characters on their screens. As much as television and animation plays a vital role in shaping their imagination and building their language skills, excessive screen time has adverse effects on their delicate minds. From infancy to age five, children undergo rapid brain development. Too much screen time leaves no room for face-to-face interaction and socializing. It also rampantly affects their cognitive and physical development, according to Dr Eva Love of Cleveland Clinic. Increased screen time equals prolonged periods of sitting as opposed to the physical activities children of tender ages engage in. Consequently, their motor skills remain idle added to this is the loss of social exchanges with their caregivers.  

It is almost impossible to eradicate the usage of electronics in this digital era. However, conscious efforts must be made by you to limit screen time. The ideal screen time is 1 hour a day for children of ages 1 to 5. Digital plans must be developed by families and followed by all members persistently. This is solely because children learn from their elders. Your habits as a parent or guardian is instantaneously reflected on your younger ones.  

So now that electronics as a medium of distraction is off the table, where do we exhaust the outrageous energy of our toddlers?  

It’s simple. We divert their energy to tasks that not only hone their cognitive and physical abilities but also simultaneously helps the overall administration of our home sweet home chores. Although it is easier said than done, conditioning their developing brains to discipline, punctuality and work ethics is most effective during their early years. Not only does it teach them valuable life skills but also inculcates habits of self- reliance, teamwork and responsibility. It is also a great opportunity for bonding.  

Make sure to appoint age appropriate chores. Post it on the refrigerator or a commonplace and do provide with rewards as incentives. Don’t be stingy with compliments, don’t insist on perfection, don’t jump on and do it for them, it undermines the whole point, don’t be inconsistent and most importantly don’t delay. You might think your kid is too young but they are more capable than you think and can grasp instructions a lot quickly than you think.  

Examples of kid-friendly chores include: 

  • Placing The Toys In The Toy Box After Play Time  
  • Putting Their Clothes In The Closet  
  • Arranging The Books On Their Shelves  
  • Making Their Beds  
  • Watering The Flowers  
  • Bringing In Newspaper Or Mail  
  • Filling The Pet’s Food Dish  

It’s also important to note that incentives shouldn’t be allowances. Making it a money earning business is dangerous as these are survival skills that in real life doesn’t come with pay checks. It is essential to instil responsibility without the sole motive behind it being cash. Award them with food they fancy, extra play time or new toys. Making it a weekly reward is convenient and wouldn’t surpass the normal threshold.  

Once The Chore Chart Has Been Finalised, How Does One Discipline Their Kids To Perform It?  

Disciplining kids is one of the most tedious tasks a parent encounters in their journey of parenthood. Many parents are entrapped by the puppy eyes of their toddlers, giving them a free pass at almost anything. It’s harmful as the granted leniency gets embedded in their minds as a “yes” for everything. There isn’t a distinction in their minds between right and wrong. The foundation of moral virtues and ethics are laid in the early stages of a child. Hence, it’s of utmost importance that they are rightly directed from a young age. Here are a few strategies of discipline:  

Practice What You Preach 

As mentioned earlier, parents are the role models for their children. They look up to them and the behavioural trait of elder’s mould and influence the actions of the young. Model the behaviours you would like to see in your children.  

Set A Guideline 

Prepare a clear set of rules and regulations the children ought to follow. Explain these rules to them in simple language without using negative affirmatives such as “don’t” or “no”. Save the word no for issues of prime importance which concern their safety. Positive reinforcement probe to be more effective.  

State The Consequences 

Firmly and calmly explain to them the aftermath of not complying by the rules. Stick to what you say. But remember never take away something that your child truly needs, such as a meal.  

Listen To Them 

Listening to what your child has to say is also key to establishing an effective relationship. It shouldn’t be a one-way policy. Communication from both the ends is vital for efficient execution. Keep a look out for misbehaviour patterns and hear what they have to say. Talk it out rather than rambling a set of instructions.  

Give Them Your Attention  

Remember that all children crave for their parents’ attention. This is the most important tool for reinforcing good behaviours and discouraging the bad.  

Offer Praises 

Ensure that it isn’t just a perpetual cycle of guidelines or rules to be followed. Compliment your kids for their improvement or good behaviour. It is a great source of motivation.  

Be Patient  

It’s most definitely a process. Discipline cannot be instilled overnight. It’s a lengthy and continuous process. Keep your cool and realise that it will be time consuming. Tantrums and meltdowns are most natural reactions on part of the children.  

Time Outs 

This is an effective mechanism which allows the child to dedicate moments of introspection to his/her misbehaviour. There can be a designated area for time outs, take them aside to this spot and explain to them politely why the deed was wrong. Time out for toddlers can last for 1-2 minutes.  

Parenthood is indeed a cumbersome process, but the fruits one reaps, the fruits of love, care and compassion are undeniably worth the wait. You are never really prepared for it. You just learn along the way. You as a parent are your child’s first teacher. Don’t shy away from chiding and disciplining them in the name of love. For the very act stems out of love. Never feel guilty of being a good teacher.  

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