How I Shape My Child’s Behaviour
Recently, we’ve been travelling with no Internet access for several days. Finally I managed to reply a mountain of emails — including many enquiries from other Mummies on parenting and babycare. Here’s one to share with you:
Do you know of any recommended books on good parenting / shaping a child’s behaviour eg. raising a well-mannered child?
Though my parenting experience is only 19 months with Vee, raising a well-behaved child is among my top priorities. I believe that the first 3 years are the most important in shaping a child’s behaviour, which is a key reason for me being a Stay-At-Home-Mum. Currently, I have 3 tools.
Tool #1: The Shichida Method
Since Vee was 14 months old, we have been attending The Shichida Method’s weekly classes. That means 5 months of classes. The method teaches me how to show love to my boy, which helps him to behave well and absorb knowledge. The compulsory 3-hour Parent Education Course certainly shaped my parenting approach, and I have become more patient and loving to Vee.
The local principal mentioned something along this line, “If you want your child’s behaviour to change, you as a parent must change.” I think this is very wise advice. If we keep using the same method and the child’s behaviour is still out of hand, it is time to reassess our parenting approach.
To me, The Shichida Method is much more than flashcards and memory games. It is an entire parenting philosophy.
Tool #2: The No-Cry Discipline Solution
Many of you may have realised that Elizabeth Pantley’s classic books The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The No-Cry Nap Solution completely won me over. I grabbed The No-Cry Discipline Solution* since it was the last copy on the shelf.
The truth: I haven’t finished reading it after 1+ year. Interestingly, her early chapters and philosophy gives me a good idea of how to approach the topic of discipline. Then I improvise my own ways. When I meet a discipline obstacle, I refer to her book and fish out the tip.
Generally, I use positive discipline, i.e. tell the child what to do instead of what “not” to do.
- Example 1: “Leave the door alone” instead of “Don’t touch the door!”
- Example 2: “Shh… Softer” instead of “Don’t scream / shout!”
When things get out of hand, I bring Vee to a corner in the room to calm down, explain to him what should or should not be done. In our family, the corner is simply a corner. Not a naughty corner. I prefer to let Vee understand that he is a good boy by nature, just that he misses the line at times.
After that, I bring him to correct the action, for instance, clean up the mess. I reinforce that he is a good boy and Mummy loves him. (This is also in line with The Shichida Method: show love to the child, let him feel it strongly and he’d behave well.)
Tool #3: Baby Sign Language
I have been using hand signs with Vee since he was a baby, which allow better communication between us, leading to less tantrums and better behaviour. At 19 months old, he can express his needs and desires rather clearly to me, using a mixture of sign language and simple phrases.
He uses the signs for “please”, “sorry” and “thank you” when requested and sometimes on his own initiative. Our reference material is Baby Signs Parent Kit*. You may read more about it at Baby Sign Language: Our Experience.
Hope the above tools help. I’d be sharing more as I learn along the way.
P.S. How do YOU shape your child’s behaviour?
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