Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

July 14, 2010

5 Sneaky Ways to Teach Kids

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Tags: , , , , — Erin @ 6:00 am

Guest blog by LM Preston

As a mother of four with ages ranging from six to fifteen I have learned to persuade my kids to do what I know is best for them.  Managing a household, while working full-time and being an author of young adult fiction causes me to be extremely creative while taking a moment to reflect on what worked best on me when I was a kid.  By using the actions that worked on me, making them fun to learn, and reinforcing them with scenarios have given me great results.

Assess your childpout

Before you can teach your kid anything you need to really get to know them.  My oldest son is a passive aggressive.  He will agree with anything you say, hardly ever talks back, but will automatically go do what it is he wants to do.  My oldest girl is Miss Perfect, except she thinks she is smarter than everyone – especially her parents.  My youngest girl is impulsive, expressive, and wears her feelings on her face.  My youngest boy is one hundred percent alpha male in a tiny little package.  He is not a follower, extremely active, and hates to be told what to do.

Use games to teach small kids

All of my kids were readers before kindergarten.  How did I do this?  Well everywhere in the house that they went to every day I posted letters (started first with the vowels) and sight words.  We would play a game.  When we came upon the dresser, the word dresser would be there, and we would say the word each time.  When we came to the stove, the word stove would be there.  We would play the vowel game and sing the vowel song while I would make their breakfast.  With kids you can teach them most anything if you make it a game.

Ways to teach rules to small kids

chartI had a goal chart up in our kitchen, and the goals stated what goals we wanted to achieve.  The kids would get rewards daily for meeting their goals.   At the end of the day, my kids were able to put their sticker on the goals they met.  They also put the red sticker on the goals they didn’t meet.  I would ask them what choice they should have made in order to make that goal.  Usually they would give me a better choice.

Ways to reinforce rules to older kids

When your kid gets to be a teenager, your approach should change.  You want them to have ownership of the choices they make.teen

Spend time with your child

The best way to do this is to talk to your teenager.   Spend lots of time with them.  Show them that you think they are smart.  Let them know that you want to get to know the person that they are growing into, and get involved in their activities.

Remove things that allow them to alienate you

My kids don’t have TV’s or Video game systems in their rooms.  If you start this out when they are young, they don’t realize that it is something that they are missing.  That way they have no real reason to hide out in their rooms.  The older kids do their homework in our office or family room.  The younger kids do their homework in the kitchen.  We hang out together in the common rooms were there are TVs, video games, and a computer to play online educational games.

Use scenarios

When I was younger, I thought I knew everything.  However, my father was smarter than me.  He would chat with me and put me in all types of scenarios.  Like he would ask me, “If this guy that most of the kids in school were kind of jealous of, was hanging out with everyone and got drunk or drugged up.  What do you think they would do to him if they could get away with it?”

As a teenager, kids hate to be told what to do.  At least I did.  However, when my father would use different scenarios, ask me questions that lead me to the correct responses, he had me.  Once I had walked through the scenario, thought about the consequences, and responded with an answer then I wouldn’t be caught unaware when I was placed in that situation.  I owned the response, the choice, and the decision to do what was right.  I also had accessed the various consequences to making the wrong decision. Don’t ever underestimate the power of problem solving games and scenarios.

Remember YOU are the parent

At times when my kids make the wrong choices, even when I know they have been taught better.  I talk to them, ask them why they made that choice.  I also tell them what the punishment for that choice is, and ask them if that one moment of defiance was worth it.  I never back down from a punishment, so I make sure that it is never made in haste, and that it reflects why the choice they made was not the best.

Author byline


LM Preston

You can learn more about LM Preston, author of  EXPLORER X – Alpha and The Pack, by visting her personal Website and her Blog.

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