Are you consistent with your rules? Or want to be? Or not sure what that means?

Do you find kids listen sometimes, and at other times it’s like pulling teeth?

That’s why educators and parenting coaches use the word “consistent”. When we are consistent with our expectations and routines then kids know what they need to do.

Life though isn’t perfect and consistent. We need to prepare for the unexpected. So here are some tips on how you can stay consistent even in times when it’s hard.

5 ways to keep things consistent

1. Find a song or a tune that you and your child use during good times.

Whether it be a love you song, or humming to ABC, use it when you are about to give directions. This will capture their attention and be ready for “listening”.

2. Use clear language that tells your child what to do.

Avoid words like Can or Okay. For more information check out this blog or video from last month

3. Use a timer, or a count down.

Regardless of the routine or expectation, if you are quantifying it with a set amount of time it shows that you are going to follow through. Because when the timer or countdown ends, you have the expectation that they have completed what you asked them to do.

4. Teach distraction!

So much of our routines and expectations require kids to wait. And waiting is hard! Even as an adult we have a hard time waiting for something without having to reach for our phone. So teach them how to distract themselves when bored and waiting. For example, maybe you’re in a grocery store line, or at the kitchen table waiting for food. Have them look around the room and notice things, or have them play a finger song, or look at a book. If you have a common distraction when the expectation is around waiting you’re likely going to get better results with your kids behavior when it’s unexpected waiting.

5. Provide choices to give autonomy.

When you consistently give a choice kids won’t feel as rebellious and instead learn how to take control and be intentional about their routines. For example, it’s not a choice to go wash your hands before dinner. But the choice is HOW you get to the bathroom.

For more ideas on how to give them choices check out this simple document with lots more ideas on transitional choices.

And for a really fun song you can teach kids on how to handwash check this out.

For other fun ideas and activities use the search feature in our blog or watch this video.