Never tell your child you are going to give a consequence which you really will not do. Children are very bright and figure out quickly if you are all talk and no action, so make sure you think before you speak, and instruct your Au Pair or other caregiver to do the same. Even other siblings and family members should follow this basic rule so that any consequences are equal and appropriate to a negative behavior.
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Tip #3: Follow through — quickly.
Make it clear that you mean what you say, and don’t make threats — or promises — you won’t keep. If you tell your 2-year-old, “You need to drink some milk at dinnertime,” don’t waffle five minutes later and let her have juice instead. If you warn her she’ll have a time-out if she hits her brother, give her that time-out when the blow comes. Make sure your spouse or partner shares your rules and respects them as well, so that neither of you undermines the other.
In addition, make your follow-through speedy. You would never expect to have to shout “Don’t run across the street!” five times before your child heeded you. Similarly, don’t fall into the trap of repeating less urgent instructions, such as “Set your cup on the table,” over and over again before expecting your child to comply. Gently guide your child’s hand to place the cup on the table so she knows exactly what you want her to do.