Children at this age do much better if we ask for a behavior one time and guide them to/through it rather than saying over and over “feet on the floor”.
Announce to the child what will be happening before you make it happen; i.e. “in 5 minutes we will change your diaper”, or “in two more minutes we will be taking a bath.”
Ask for Behaviors You Want, Not What You Don’t Want
Ask for “inside voice” “walking legs”, or “feet on the floor” rather than “don’t talk so loud, “don’t scream”, “don’t run”, or “don’t climb on the furniture”.
Children thrive on the routine of morning and evening rituals, naps and mealtime.
Boundaries and routines create a sense of safety/security for a child.
Sleep and Naps
Children this age need very predictable sleep.
They need naps 2 times a day until they are about 18 months old and then one a day.
Nighttime bedtime should be no later than 7-8 pm.
Total hours of sleep daily, including naps, should equal about 13-15 hours out of 24.
Sleep is when the brain wires from the experiences children have when they are awake.
tips for the 3 to 5 year-old
Offer choices only after you have made your boundaries clear, “It’s time for bed.” (boundary) “Do you want to hop or skip?” (choice)
Tell them what they are doing right; “You were so helpful taking your dishes to the sink. Thank you!”
Describe what you see with enthusiasm; “You used 12 blocks to build that tower! Wow!”
Teach Social and Emotional Intelligence
Rather than command, demand or belittle in our comments, ask problem solving questions like “Can you think of another way to tell me what you want?” or ”Is that a good idea or not a good idea?” “What else could you do instead of _______?” (Raising a Thinking Child by Myrna Shure)
Limit “classes” like ballet, gymnastics etc. to one a week.
Children need time to be in spontaneous free play to get enough practice in their social/ emotional development and imaginations.
Sleeping and Naps
Sleep should total between 11 and 12 hours including naps. Bedtime can move to between 8:00 and 8:30 pm.
Some children at this age will begin to outgrow naps. Rest time, without sleep, should still be encouraged every day in the nap window 12:00-2:00 pm. The brain is still developing and needs rest.
tips for the 6 to 10 year-old
Every child at this age should have “chores” they are accountable for before they have social time (TV, computer, friends, classes, etc.). Payment for chores is the privilege they receive socially.
Ask “Thinking” Questions
Hold you child accountable for their choices.
Ask them “What do you think should happen when you forget our agreements/rules?”
Sequential thinking and Problem Solving
Children at this age are capable of knowing the logical answer to more appropriate behavior. Engage them in conversations that teach thinking and problem solving skills.
Try to never “correct” your child in front of their friends, it is embarrassing and humiliating for them. Call them to the side to speak to their inappropriate behavior.
Do homework in the same spot each night.
All homework materials needed should be in a box/desk so time is not wasted gathering things.
Children should have a desk or work area that is private and quiet by the time they are 9.
Activities can increase to 2 and not more than 3 days a week.
Children need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Bedtimes can stay at 8:30 pm until they are 8 or 9 years old and then move to 9:00-9:30 pm.