5 Parenting Lessons from Awesome Teachers
1. Set Up Routines
If you walk down the hall outside the second grade classrooms at one particular school in Tampa, Florida, you'll see the students' backpacks hanging on hooks. Most of the backpacks are half-zipped or not zipped at all, have things falling out of them, and look very messy. But, the backpacks for one of the second grade classes look perfectly neat. Not coincidentally, the students from this class are the best-behaved.
The teacher for the well-behaved students has standards and routines for every part of the children's day: backpacks are hung neatly, books are put away after reading, and chairs are pushed in when leaving the table.
Routines and standards help children know what's expected of them, so they have a better chance for success.
2. Aim High
Are you expecting too little from your children? At a recent kindergarten art exhibit, I was amazed at what I saw. The students had copied paintings of a master artist and the results were incredible!
So at home, give your children more opportunities to shine. Yes, your 5-year-old can put away the silverware from the dishwasher. Your first-grader can set the table for dinner every night. Your middle-schooler or high-schooler can sort the laundry and even complete a laundry cycle!
As you encourage your children to do more, try to let them be a part of the process. Instead of saying, "Starting today you're going to make your bed!" Say, "When do you think would be a good time to make your bed every day, right when you get up, or after you've had breakfast? What do you think?"
Children who do more than what they thought they could do will feel a sense of accomplishment that will fuel their desire to do even more.
3. Streamline Your Discipline
A teacher with a classroom full of kids doesn't have the time to get bogged down in back and forth explanations when they're disciplining students. She lets the kids know, up front, what the consequences for misbehavior are, and they enact those consequences immediately when offenses occur.
In your own home, make sure your children know what you expect from them behavior wise. Also make sure they know what the consequences are if they break the rules. If they do break the rules, you might give them one reminder of the consequences. But, if it happens again soon after, put the consequences into action without getting into an ongoing dialogue.
4. Show Them You Care
The best teachers are firm, but loving. Same goes for the best parents. So, even though you have boundaries in place, love your children lavishly!
One excellent teacher I observed greets each child warmly as they walk into her classroom at the beginning of the day. She uses terms like "honey" and "sweetheart" when she interacts with them. At the end of the day she gives each one a hug or a kiss on the head.
Try to show your children that kind of love. Try not to make every interaction you have with them a "correction" time or an advice time.
5. Take Advantage of their Desire to Please You
Only a few children in each class are the "teacher's pet" type, but most children want to please their teacher. So do what wise teachers do: notice even the little things your children do right; point out good actions or qualities in front of other members of your family; say things like, "I love the way you…" or "You make me so happy when you…"
Children also love striving for goals, which gives you a wonderful opportunity to be their cheerleader. Think of something your child can strive to achieve and use our 25 Day, 50 Day or 100 Day charts to celebrate their progress.
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