Give the kids a daily allowance over the full holiday period. This money needs to be earned by doing a chore e.g. cleaning the dishes, packing toys away, hanging up clothes etc. The amount can vary from $5 upwards, but this money must pay for all the entertainment including sweets, food, toys etc. You can also explain to them that if they don’t spend all their money each day, they will be able to save and then have a bigger amount to spend later on in the week or month. If an outing is quite expensive, you can offer to make a contribution, but they need to understand that nothing buys nothing.
Draw up a roster starting with the eldest child on top and the others following according to age. The roster should be changed daily with the top of the list moving to the bottom and the others moving up. The kid on top of the list has certain privileges for the day e.g. they get to choose the TV programme or the DVD for the day. If you’re going on an outing they can choose where they want to sit in the car. They bath first and all the niggling arguments that arise over seemingly small matters can be eliminated using this roster.
Children need to understand that if something doesn’t belong to them, they have to ask permission to use whatever it is that they want. They can be fined if they refuse to ask or they have to give the object back. Even a seemingly small thing like going to the fridge needs your permission. They shouldn’t just be allowed to help themselves to food whenever they want without asking. By doing this means that you can ensure that they don’t waste. Children often only want something when they see it e.g. a yoghurt. When there’s no control in this regard you may find that they have 2 teaspoon full and waste the rest, or have 2 bites of an apple and waste the rest. Remember: things like being responsible, having respect, good manners etc. need to be instilled in children through proper parenting and training, they don’t automatically become responsible or have good manners when they reach a certain age.
Allow them to hire 2 DVDs a week during the holidays, ensuring that whoever’s top of the roster has preference. Ensure that you’re being fair that on a DVD day the same child is not top of the list. If you’ve got more than 2 kids then perhaps allow them each take a turn for a DVD. Remember that whoever is top of the list has 1st preference when he/she wants to watch the DVD. If the others want a DVD the same day they’re welcome to hire one from their own pocket money.
No TV during the day. Many children cannot keep themselves occupied when not watching TV or playing some or other electronic game. The new technology is killing passion and creativity in children so it is important to encourage them to find a hobby and or some other creative activity. You can also tell them that in order to watch TV at night; they have to earn this privilege by doing something creative during the day e.g. reading, puzzles, construction toys, dolls etc.
Remember, if your child can, they must. Lacking perseverance often gives rise to learning difficulties so try to ensure that your child tries his/her best in everything they do. If a child can dress themselves, they must; if they can walk, they must; if they can greet friends, they must etc. One of the aims of parenting is to give your child the skills that will help them survive in this world. By overprotecting them we are doing just the opposite.
My name is Ken Resnick and I am an educational psychologist and family negotiator residing in Johannesburg, South Africa. My unique evidence-based SmartChoiceParenting programme that I have developed and evaluated enables parents to deal with virtually all manner of behaviour problems and helps them in raising kids to become independent, motivated and successful adults.
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