The more children are urged to eat the more the appetite is suppressed. The more you remind children to finish music practice, the more they whine. So, HOW do you get children to be more self reliant?
- you catch them doing it right – you catch them finishing music practice or you catch them eating their veggies
- you create routines. Routines help children make better choices. In general, routines reduce resistance. So, if the routine is to get a 1/2 hour of screen time after the music practice is done, and he never ever gets screen time, if he doesn’t finish music practice, a habit is created – especially if he REALLY wants the reward. Another routine might be about doing weekly chores. The children cannot go out for pizza night unless they work together to get the front lawn picked up and the vacuuming done.
How quickly the child becomes self-reliant depends on the child and his temperament. An Easy Going child falls into a new routine rather easily. But a child that has an Extreme Temperament will have a more difficult time. If your child is intense or impulsive, in general, even if they are very bright, they have more Inflexible Temperament. It will take more time with this kind of a child, but you just need to be consistent and lay on the Descriptive Praise a little thicker. It is important for you to realize that your child is not a bad child. He isn’t deliberately being impulsive or digging his heals in about routines. He needs you to help him learn the routine and wants you to notice him getting it. He wants to please you and you’ll notice when you do, he lights up with pleasure. Do more of that! The lighting up will help those routines become a habit.
So, in conclusion, you need your child to be able to cooperate and be self-reliant so that they can do things for themselves. Making clear rules and routines is the first step. If we need our children to be able to control their impulses, so that they can pay attention and follow the family’s rules, we need to take the time to help them learn and be cooperative about family routines. Cooperation follows Descriptive Praise. Routines follow Cooperation. Self-Reliance follows Routines.