With the Easter holidays upon us, some parents may be feeling apprehensive about taking their children out and about. The thought of them misbehaving can be quite daunting. We’ve put together some straightforward tips to help you feel more confident by planning ahead.
Think about what you might need for the trip and prepare it in advance so that you are not rushed/stressed before going. Try to avoid disrupting sleep/meal routines where possible, or factor these into your trip.
Make behaviour charts in advance if you need them as an extra incentive and prepare any rewards you might want to take with you.
Have some rules
Have a few rules for the trip. Remember to positively phrase them to remind children what to do rather than what not to do.
Discuss the rules before you leave to remind children what is expected of them. For example, keep hands and feet to yourself, use your inside/quiet voice, stay close to mum/dad are all useful ones.
Have some activities prepared
Keeping children occupied can also prevent problem behaviour from escalating, particularly if you are expecting to queue or have a long journey.
Have some games and activities to hand to keep children busy. I-Spy, counting cars, or having a treasure hunt for natural objects, are all great ideas that don’t cost anything and keep children entertained.
Agree on rewards
Rewards are a good way to encourage positive behaviour on your trip. Agree on a small reward beforehand that can be earned for following the rules.
Rewards do not need to cost a lot of money and could be extra TV time or having their favourite dinner that night. Positive praise throughout will encourage good behaviour to continue, particularly if you use descriptive praise.
Discuss possible consequences for misbehaviour with your child before leaving and state what will happen. For example, quiet time away from the activity if they are not playing nicely or a privilege/treat removal.
Have a follow-up chat
Once home and when things are calm, discuss how the trip went with your child. Give praise for all of the things that went well and talk about what you would like to see differently next time.
For more info
Community Family Care, based at Staunton, helps families, children and young people in need of additional support. It seeks to improve parents’ confidence, help with routines to get children to school, or more complex support dealing with challenging behaviour at home. The work its staff carry out includes peer mentoring and life coaches for young people, and family support programmes. Visit communityfamilycare.co.uk
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