When you are explaining the house rules to your child, make sure you:
- Make your message clear. Keep it simple and to the point – if you give her too much information, she may become confused by what you’re telling her.
- Have the same understanding of the rules. Once you’ve told her what you expect, make sure that she then tells you what she thinks you mean. Be explicit with your instructions to avoid confusion.
- Get the timing right. Ensure that she’s actively listening to you when you’re talking to her. Keep distraction to a minimum so your message has the best chance of being heard.
- Be realistic about your child’s capabilities. Don’t ask her to perform tasks that are too difficult, or behave in a manner that is well out of her reach. Know what her limits are and take it from there.
- Be willing to go with her decision if you give her a choice – she may not respond in the manner that you expected so consider carefully whether you’re prepared to go with her wishes, before you give her a choice.
- Don’t send her mixed messages. Don’t speak to her in one way and display body language that tells her something else again – she’ll only get confused.
- Are prepared to follow through with warnings and consequences. If you don’t, you may find it hard to get her to take you seriously down the track.
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