Right now is a very difficult time for us all. Even if you think your kids are not stressed, they perceive your stress and worry. Please try to take care of yourself, take moments to recharge your batteries so you can be there for your children. Try to get outside, even if there’s bad weather. Wash your hands regularly. This brings me to what we all know that we need kids also wearing masks, washing their hands, and practicing social distancing. This is tall order!

I frequently hear from clients and friends alike that they are talking themselves blue in the face and their kids are still not mindful of good practices towards keeping you and your family safe right now.

I am a firm believer in changing kids behaviors with a few simple steps: clear expectations, praising the behaviors we want to see, and getting kids feedback rather than giving ours. It is not an easy transition to make from the way you typically give commands, reprimand and give feedback to your kids. My clients take some time to undo the previous ways of dealing with their kids. But, once they can get used to this way of doing it, they are able to eliminate many, if not most of their kid’s negative behaviors and by using this method-it gives them more time to enjoy the kids they adore .

Using this method helps kids meet our expectations, and encourages positive behaviors from them.

Let’s take a look at clear expectations, praising the process and soliciting their feelings and thoughts.

Try saying this: “I’ve been hearing a lot of kids wearing masks all day in school and they actually say they get used to it, they are washing their hands when they first get in the house and they’re feeling proud of themselves because they are forcing themselves to do what they don’t want to do, but they know they’re keeping themselves safe and their family safe. Even if they don’t think this is a big deal right now, they are still proud of themselves that they’re doing what they think is absurd and ridiculous”.

The Expectations: “I would love to see you keep your mask on when you are at school and out of our house and wash your hands when you first walk in the house. When I see you doing both I am going to tell you you’re doing a great job. What are some other ways we can keep ourselves and our family safe? We know keeping a 6 foot distance from friends and anyone who doesn’t live in our home is also really going to keep them and us enjoying hanging out for a very long time in the future. It isn’t easy, but this way there is more fun ahead for everyone.”

Praise the Process: “When I see you wearing a mask, and washing your hands when you first come in the house, and when I see you keeping a safe 6 foot distance from people who aren’t in our family I’m really going to start pointing out to you are doing a great job keeping us all safe.”

Solicit: "When I see you wearing a mask and washing your hands when you first come in the house, and when I see you keeping a safe distance from people who are not part of our family, I’m going to point out you are doing a great job keeping us all safe. When I see you doing it enough times, I’m just going to feel like I want to give you a reward. What do you want to work towards earning when I see you this doing enough mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing? “Awesome, so you want to earn that——that sounds great! And what are you going to show me a whole bunch of times tomorrow and every day this week to earn that?” Encourage your kids to go over saf8e hygiene practices that you just discussed.

Every single time you see your kids come in wearing their mask or having the mask, washing their hands, and you see them social distancing praise them. Name what you have just seen them do and praise that behavior. Tell them you appreciate that you know they think it’s annoying, but that they’re doing a great job keeping everyone safe. After you have reinforced this every day and every time you have seen it over the next few days start to point out that if you continue to see these actions you are going to be so excited to get that reward for them. Ask them how they are doing with this.

Solicit: Ask them how annoying they think it is. Ask them if they’re starting to get used to this and what they think about it?

Don’t let your guard down. This is not an automatic behavior for your kids yet. Mention it at night when talking is easy, mention it in the mornings before they leave the house. Reinforce the positive behaviors every single time you see them doing these actions and within about two weeks you should have your kids practicing these behaviors you really want to see.

For specific plans that go beyond this, to learn this method step by step, and for any information please head to my website, www.AllisonCD.com for parent tips, videos and for the articles you’re finding in this fantastic parenting site.

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