Does your family find meal times really stressful? Do you have picky eaters and find your children take far too long to eat just a small amount of food?
Meal times can often become a battle of wills between you and your children, which can be improved with these 7 easy tips for happy meal times.
1. Be positive
It is important to make meal times a positive experience and not to bring the last mealtime disaster to the table. If you are subconsciously or consciously feeling negative this will have a big impact on your whole mealtime experience.
For example, picture a parent who is worn down with miserable meal time battles and is feeling very negative about them and does not enjoy them, this parent will give off very different body language than a parent who usually enjoys meals times and looks forward to sitting together as a family. You will help yourself to be more positive by having positive self-talk and using positive affirmations before you sit at the table.
2. Take the focus off your child
If your child is displaying unwanted behaviour at the table it is natural to focus on this and give it the most attention. Unfortunately this is usually giving children what they want and accidentally rewarding the unwanted behaviour, ultimately making it worse. By shifting your focus onto yourself or by talking to others who are behaving well you will give your children the message that you are more interested in the good behaviour of others.
3. Make it fun
Think about what you would consider to be a happy, fun or pleasant mealtime?
This may include you having positive conversations, focussing on good things and trying to keep the atmosphere light and pleasant, telling jokes and maybe laughing. If you aim to make meal times fun then everyone is more likely to enjoy coming to the table.
4. Be a good role model
Your children are always watching and listening to you, so it is vital to be a good role model. Whatever you want your children to be doing, first check to see if you are doing the same. This includes positive conversations, because if your children can here lots of nagging, and negative comments then this is giving them the signal that this is OK.
5. Have some rules
By deciding on your house rules for meal times you can tell everyone involved what they are. Manners are very important in some households and not so much in others so it is up to you what they are.
For example, saying please and thank you, elbows off the table and eating with a knife and fork are considered manners for some and others will not have these same rules.
Small children under 3 years old will need constant coaching and direction rather than laying the rules down because they are really just learning and they can’t remember instructions.
It is always helpful if both parents share the same values and rules and keep a united front so that children don’t get mixed messages.
6. Consequences for unwanted behaviour
Fitting consequences and loss of privileges may be used for unwanted behaviour at the table.
7. Rewards and praise
Children will do more of what they get attention for, so be mindful to focus on any good behaviour from them, or from others at the table and you will be far more likely to have a calm positive mealtime. By using verbal or non-verbal praise you will be encouraging more of the behaviour that you would like.
Timeout seems a good idea, after all, it is well documented by some very well respected professionals and lots of parents use them, however in reality they can cause a lot of upset and grief for both children and parents and isolates children when they need to connect with you most.
Why we need to stop using timeout and find a more positive alternative?
1.Timeout makes children feel bad and lowers their self esteem
If children are behaving badly, they were already feeling bad, sending them to timeout will just make this worse. In order for children to behave better we need to help them to feel better.
2. Timeouts don’t help children to regulate their emotions
The best way to teach children to calm themselves down is to provide a nurturing environment where they feel safe and secure. Sending children to timeout means they will likely calm down eventually, however resentment, stress and frustration may be building up within them, which means they are quicker to anger and less likely to behave well. It is far better to provide a place where they can use as a calming soothing place to unwind, where they recognize a place of comfort and relaxation rather than isolation and punishment.
3. Timeout is a negative thing to do
Sending an upset child to timeout will likely make them feel rejected just as they were feeling out of control and really need to connect with you. It is more effective in the long term to use positive techniques such as having ‘time in’ with your child to re-connect and listen to them, honour their feelings and help them to understand their emotions.
4. Timeout can damage your relationship with your child
Instead of reaffirming the relationship that you want with your child, timeout creates a power struggle and a controlling win lose situation. For long lasting positive relationships with your child look for ways of finding a win-win solution.
5. Timeout, like other fear based punishments can weaken your bond with your child
In order to encourage the behaviour that you want, you need to be looking to create a strong bond and good relationship with your child, using timeout can weaken that bond because you are isolating them when they need you most.
Positive alternatives to using timeout
If you want to teach your child emotional self-management, try to nip things in the bud and catch things before they escalate. If you see your child getting upset, angry or starting to use any number of negative behaviours such as hitting or shouting, it’s a warning sign that you need to re-direct your child to something to calm them or distract them to something positive to do. You can do this in a number of ways including taking some quiet time together perhaps sitting together and reassuring them that you understand that they are upset and that you are happy to talk about what is bothering them when they are calm.
To find more positive ways to encourage the good behaviour that you want, please contact us directly, we are happy to help
A child’s mind has tens of thousands of thoughts a day, which come from what others have said to them and from what they say to themselves.
These thoughts include short statements, or affirmations that go over in their mind, which have a direct affect on how they feel and on their behaviour. The more positive the thoughts the more positive the behaviour will be.
For example a young child starting nursery, who goes into class feeling miserable and shy thinking to himself that he hasn’t got any friends is less likely to attract some friends because he may be sitting alone and not wanting to go and play with the others.
An older child who is going to have a test or exam may be having negative thoughts, which will make them feel weak and loose concentration. They may be saying to themselves things like, ’I can’t do this’, ‘I am stupid and can’t remember anything’, I will never be as clever as the others’, These negative thoughts are like an annoying voice in their head that is convincing them of doom and glum and are played over and over in their mind like an old record on a tape recorder.
Without being aware of it children will play back the old tapes in their mind when something triggers a memory of it, like when you hear a favourite song it will make you happy.
As parents you can teach your child to say positive affirmations that will help them to feel in a good frame of mind such as ‘I am going to do really well’, ‘I will pass this test’ and you can also say positive affirmations to them, such as ‘I am sure you will do really well’.
These affirmations will positively stimulate the mind and affect a child’s behaviour because if they are feeling positive they are more likely to feel like making friends and studying more and behaving well.
With practice, children can develop the mental habit of using affirmations in a whole range of different situations, to help them to have positive attitudes and give them confidence and they can enjoy being able to direct their own mind to help them to achieve what they want in life. This way we can help to empower children to get the best out of life.
Write a guide of how to fill your child’s mind with positive thoughts and affirmation and how they will develop a positive mindset that will encourage good behaviour;
I can’t do this
I am getting better every day
I am stupid
I am strong
Everything I do goes wrong
Nobody likes me
It’s not worth trying
Nobody likes me
I hate myself
Remember you are far more likely to be able to help your child with positive affirmations if you use them for yoursel. Give it a go:)
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Why choose The Parent’s Guide to Children’s Behaviour Programme
This programme shows you a three-step formula that helps them to identify the root cause of unwanted behaviour that will enable parents to make lasting positive changes for your family and help your children to thrive.
As we all know, parenting can be difficult and confusing at times and we may find that what you are doing has become ineffective, which is when is it vital that you have and use this formula. Without this formula a parenting programme that is looking to improve behaviour is incomplete and you are likely to continue to struggle or may even reach a crisis point.
The programme shows you how to direct their own thoughts, energy and focus on positive ways to feed and nourish your child’s mind. By making conscious choices about how you are affecting their child’s thoughts and feelings you will see the most positive long lasting impact in your children’s behaviour. In the programme we give you new positive strategies in a step by step process that will help you to identify what it is that you really want, what’s preventing you from getting it and how to take action that will start momentum and produces the results that you want.
This programme is quality assured by the UK parenting sectors CANparent Quality Mark, whichis the new standard requirement set to help those looking for parenting programmes to know that it is proven to make a positive impact and reached the highest standard of assessment.
Staffordshire’s Emotional Wellbeing Framework
Child Behaviour Direct have been chosen to be part of Staffordshire’s Early Help Emotional Wellbeing Framework. Following a rigorous tender process, we are an appointed parenting support provider throughout most of the county.
Feedback from parent's
Improvements for parents who completed the programme
100 % of parent’s who have taken the program say that they would recommend it to others
Over 95% of parent’s say that their wellbeing had improved, some very significantly
100% of parents felt more confident as a parent
100% of parents say that their relationship with their child had improved
Improvements of children’s behaviour
100% of children had a reduction in the overall stress levels, some by 50%
100% found emotional distress reduced with 1 staying the same
100% found behaviour difficulties improved
80% found hyperactivity and attentional difficulties improved
100% found difficulties getting along with other children improved or stayed the same
If you are interested in taking the Parent's Guide to Children's Behaviour Programme simply contact us today to see how we can help you and for a special summer 10% discount.
Every parent has to say “NO” to their child at some point, that’s real life and children do need boundaries to live by. However, the “NO” word can become a battle of wills between you and your child, rather like taking a red rag to a bull. If you are fed up of saying “NO” and the drama it causes think about how your child feels?
A study shows that a toddler can hear the word “NO” up to 400 times a day. To a child saying “NO” can feel like you are rejecting them and I’m sure you agree that 400 times is a lot of rejection to cope with. Fortunately, there are some highly effective positive ways of avoiding saying “NO”, that will help to keep the peace in your home.
Children live in the moment and as a parent we want to encourage this. Therefore, we need to think about how we can inspire children to feel good, in that moment of not having what they want. It’s not rocket science to do, it just takes a little practise and perseverance.
5 ways to avoid saying “NO” to your child.
1. Ask for what you want
The essential key thing to do is to ask your child what you want them to do. This simply means taking a short moment before you say no, to actually think about what it is that you would like your child to do instead of simply.
Share your toys
Walk on the grass
Wait for tea and come and help me chop the carrots
2. Re-direct your child
More often than not, re-directing your child to what you want them to do will effectively stop problems escalating. Your child’s mind needs positive re-direction to help to nurture a positive mind-set and for emotional well-being.
Come and sit here and play this game with me
Let’s go and play with your brother
Shall we do some drawing together
You play with the bricks and in a minute we can go out
3. Reduce the risk
Setting a child’s environment up for success and meeting their needs is going to save you a lot of stress in the long run and reduce the risk of you needing to say “No”.
Keep your environment child friendly and safe
Keep your child busy with stimulating toys and games and things to do
Have routines and structure so that they can learn to predict what is coming next
Adjust plans to meet their needs and avoid unwanted behaviour, such as when they are ill and need to rest at home
4. Say “YES”
Say “YES” as often as you can. Often the word “YES” can easily replace saying no which will help your child to feel far happier to do as you ask.
Yes, it would be nice to have Jamie home after school, let’s choose a good night for everyone and we can ask his mum. (Instead of, no not tonight)
Yes, you can play on your Xbox when your homework is done. (Instead of, no you’re not allowed on your Xbox until you have done your homework)
5.Make it fun
Children just want to have fun, by being warm and responsive and making things fun for them you are sure to avoid needing to say “NO”. See how long you can do it J