I have just finished this amazing book I heard Chris Evans recommending on Radio 2, it's so interesting! It's all about why the French have such well behaved children! I thought I would summarise the main findings below.
— Wait / pause / delay. This is a very key theme running throughout the whole book, why it's so important to make your baby / child wait. Do not attend to them immediately! (Unless urgent like choking etc of course). Instead, just observe for a few minutes to see whether actually do need your attention. During the night try waiting 5/10 mins if your baby wakes and calls out to see if they settle on their own. The baby will eventually learn to self soothe rather than relying on you to do it for them. The same goes for during the day. If your child wants your attention by winging or throwing a tantrum, try waiting and seeing if they themselves correct what is wrong. This will teach them an invaluable tool... an inner resolve and coping mechanism that should stand them in good stead for life.
- When you are giving your kids an instruction, say it with conviction. If you don’t believe it yourself then how will can you expect your kids to. Try speaking in a stronger tone of voice, or opening your eyes very wide. The child needs to understand that not doing it is not an option!
— Children are smarter than they are usually given credit for, and this includes babies! Don’t not speak to them because you think they won’t understand, and don’t speak to them like they imbeciles either. It has been proven that very young babies have a sense of morality for example.
— Put routines and boundaries in place so they know what behaviour is expected at all times.
— No snacking, especially before meals! This will mean that your kid will eat what they are supposed to rather than fill up on junk.
— Don’t feed kids beige food all the time, but lots of healthy veggies in particular. Don’t expect them to like new things immediately and then never not serve them again when they don’t... rather keep reintroducing foods in different formats until they like them.
— Don’t smother your kids, be strict but not overly so and only about things that really matter.
— Trust and respect your kids and they will trust and respect you.
— Let them know it’s you that is in charge and remind often ‘it’s me that decides’.
— Don’t over praise all the time as your kids might get addicted to the constant positive feedback and miss out on the intrinsic enjoyment of the activity.
— Try to say yes as often as possible.
— Listen to your kids.
— A healthy parental relationship is paramount! Do what you can to ensure that this is the case as much as possible.
— It’s not just kids who crave autonomy, give it to your partner instead of micromanaging them all the time.
To find out more about any of the above I highly recommend buying the book, available from Amazon for £4 from here. I just wish that the book had been around when my kids were younger!