How to Tame your 6 Year Old
“No!” “Why do I have to go to bed?” “Why can’t I get that toy, momma?” Do any of these statements ring a bell? Being parent is not an easy task, and taming a 6 year old is almost as hard a taming a lion on some days. From fits of not getting their way, to slamming doors when they are told to go to their room, to the silent treatment or shoulder shrug when you ask a question. Don’t we wish there could be some sort of mommy survival guide of how to be a parent? Well now there is! I will give you some resourceful tools of things you can do and say to get your 6 year old to act right…. At least a better portion of the time.
Survival Tool #1: Set Expectations
I can not stress how important it is to set the expectations with any new event, toy, or activity that comes in to your child’s life. For instance, around birthday time your child will get showered with an unprecedented amount of new toys. Once all the new toys have been unwrapped and opened for use, go over the rules with the new toys. Good rule of thumb is setting playtime after their rooms has been picked up, after they get ready and brush their teeth, or maybe even after you have them help you with something. The child needs to know that even though they have new toys, they still need to know that you are the boss and those toys can be taken away in heart beat if they do not follow the rules.
Survival Tool #2: Give Back
Every year thousands of children go without toys, shoes, clothes and blankets. During the holidays and right before birthdays, you and your 6 year old go through all the older toys, etc. Let them help you decide what they are willing to give away to those less fortunate. And explain to them why they are doing this. This will give them a sense of appreciation for those children around that are less fortunate, and it also help you in keeping down the storage of toys not being played with.
Survival Tool #3: Use a Color Code System
Try using a color code system to recap their behavior for the day. Green is good. Yellow is one warning. Blue 2 Warnings. Red is unacceptable and time for an adjustment. At the end of the day go over the color card with your child and discuss the days events. Talk about what smart decisions could have been made to turn it around, if the card was anything other than green. Then reward for the green cards. Put together a reward system in increments on 20 cards. Once they reach 20, do something fun with them, or buy them a cool toy or game. Always remember to reward and reinforce the positive behavior. On the flipside, taking away their most previous things when they are acting up is necessary and expected.
Survival Tool #4: Spend Quality Time Together
Plan your own play dates with your child, just the two of you. You will be surprised how some serious alone time will help with acting out. Sometimes their way of telling you they want to spend time with you, is by acting out, and strange as it may sound. Take them to lunch, or a movie, or a long adventure walk and explore new things. Try to avoid the park on these journeys alone because that will only take away from the two of you really engaging in each other.
Survival Tool #5: Let them Express Themselves
As cliché as it may sound, it is important for your 6 year old to express themselves. Whether it be in their hair style, or the type of clothes they are starting to wear, expressing themselves is part of growing up and feeling comfortable. As long as it is in a healthy format acceptable to you, then let them be. As you watch your child grow you will find they will go in and out of phases quickly, so pick and choose your battles.
We all know parenting is the most difficult and rewarding job there is. To watch your child grow into an amazing human being, is something we all strive for. And while there will be bumps and curves ahead, it will all be worth it in the end. Remember that with these tools, and all the thousands of books that are available on the how-to’s-of-being-a-parent, no way is better than your way. Trust your instincts and always communicate. And you will be just fine.