Behaviour

How to manage your kid’s behaviour?

An accessible (not too serious) A-Z  list for parents who cannot be bothered to read it in a book.

#allthebooks

During my teaching career I managed challenging classes of 30+ on a daily basis and nine times out of ten they behaved really well. I use the theories and behaviour management techniques I learnt during my teaching career, in my parenting on a daily basis, and so it may be worth me sharing what I know works.

Question: How do you get a perfectly behaved child?

Answer: No such thing exists.

I’m a qualified teacher trained in behaviour management so I’ve got some really good tips, although I definitely don’t see myself as the good behaviour oracle. Not by any stretch. My kids are really well behaved but don’t get me wrong, they’re not perfect. Mostly really good, but never perfect.

TAKE WHAT YOU WANT FORM THIS LIST AND IGNORE ANYTHING YOU HATE.

I’ll never forget reading Jo Frost aka Supernanny’s book, in the early days of motherhood. In it she says that you should never use TV as a babysitter and that small kids shouldn’t have more than half an hour of screen time a day. I can remember thinking – ‘YOU obviously don’t have any children of your own you self righteous cowbag (bit harsh, she’s probably lovely), because how the hell am I supposed to get tea/washing/housework done if I don’t give them at least one hour of Netflix a day!’ What I’m saying is if you don’t like something in this list, or if it doesn’t work, then don’t do it.

Let it be noted that at times I really state the obvious. If you scroll down and think ‘Yep I do that one, and that one…’ then please take this as a positive. Give yourself a pack on the back and be proud that you are smashing it.

However, these behaviour hacks may not be completely obvious to everyone, and so even if one person gets one useful thing from this list then that’ll do me.

…Here goes…

A is for… Attention

There’s a theory I learnt as a trainee teacher called ‘The Hierarchy of Needs’ by a psychologist called Maslow. (See pic below) At the bottom of the triangle is the most basic things kids need like food, warmth, clothing, safety, love and belonging. But it’s the two needs at the top of the triangle that are tricky.

Building your child’s need for self-esteem through showing them they are worth your undivided attention… hmmm? Proving to them they are respected and valued by listening to them, that they are important by playing with them and talking to them?

This is what will build their self-esteem and confidence.

When it comes to the last need – self-actualization, we all want our kids to strive to be someone and to accomplish their goals. Don’t we?

According to Maslow we cannot help them accomplish everything they can, or become the best they can be (this is self-actualization), unless we help them to achieve ALL the previous needs.

So basically – feed them, water them, keep them safe, warm and well rested. Make them feel part of a secure, loving family and community. But after all that, it is hugely important you give them lots of attention and praise.

Tell them they are clever, kind, helpful and lovely. Tell them what they are good at and how proud of them you are AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

I remember teaching a very challenging, low ability class years back. I always made sure I said lots of positive stuff as they came through the door. Maybe liking their hair or telling them they had a lovely smile. It really worked and it definitely did alter their behaviour.

I find the best way to get my kids to behave is give them lots of undivided attention.

Let’s face it, this can be tricky. Especially if you’re juggling work, housework, if you’re sleep deprived etc.

Also playing with them can be really boring. There I said it out loud. Getting down on the floor and being made to act out a whole episode of Paw Patrol… ugh… kill me now.

That’s why I (selfishly?) always try and find the things I enjoy. I love arts and crafts and baking so they’re the sorts of things we do.

Get on Pintrest, read parenting forums and follow parenting Insta accounts. Seek out some fun and engaging activities, ones that you, as well as your kids will enjoy. GO ON! Put your phone on airplane mode and give them some pure undivided attention, even if it’s just for half an hour.

‘One on one’ time is also crucial. Sometimes towards the end of the school holidays my kids play up, because they’re fed up of each other or fed up of me. When I sense this happening, my husband and I take one kid each and go off and get some one on one time.  Shower them with attention and drown them in love. (psychologist Oliver James calls this ‘Love Bombing‘) It’s really nice and it really does work.

Some ‘one on one’ Play Doh tea party time.

B is for… Behaviour/Child Separation

I always try to separate the child from the behaviour. It’s a technique I learnt as a teacher. But what does this actually mean?

OK so, if your child does something bad you tell them their ‘behaviour’ was naughty or silly and NOT them. I usually say ‘You’re a nice girl aren’t you? And so you can choose to change that silly behaviour.’

I used this all the time with challenging kids at school, and it really worked. Other teachers would tell them they were ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ and they’d really start to believe it. It actually began to define them.

It’s bad for self-esteem (we’re back on to self-esteem again) to label children as naughty. When I talk to my child about behaviour I make it visual for them. When I say the word ‘behaviour’ I usually pretend like I’m holding it in my hand. This helps them see that it is a separate thing that does not define them. It’s something that they are in control of and it’s something they can change.

C is for… Clarity

Children need clear structure & rules. Not only that but they like it. It makes them feel secure knowing where they are and what the boundaries are. Rules wise we have a set of clear rules and we stick to them. We used to have them written out and stuck on the fridge when they were younger. Not too many, just the obvious ones: No hitting, no shouting, sharing, being kind, no climbing on furniture etc. The rules are always very clear and if they break them there are consequences. Make sure you explain why those rules are there e.g. ‘We don’t climb on the furniture because I don’t want you to fall off and get hurt’ etc. Structure wise routine is so important, meal times and especially the bedtime one. Bath, story, bed… wine? (winks)

The countdown is also a great one. Give them ten, five or three seconds. “Right I’m going to count down from five and if you haven’t got your shoes on, you will not have movie night tonight.”

BOOM!

D is for… Diet

Sugar makes my kids go batshit crazy so I try to limit it. When we’re eating out in a restaurant, once the ice cream comes we usually pay the bill quickly and start gathering up our stuff, so we can make a super sharp exit.

This is not their fault, sugar is a stimulant and it makes them behave out of character.

When I was a teacher I used to teach a Year 10 Class just after lunchtime. There was one kid, let’s call him Jimmy, now if Jimmy’d had Jaffa Cakes for lunch, it was game over. He’d be climbing the walls. He’d find it impossible to focus and he’d be cheeky and chopsy.

I asked Jimmy one day what he was eating for lunch and he told me. I put a ban on Jaffa Cakes after that. I also taught Jimmy first lesson on a different day where he was like a completely different kid. Calm, sensible and hard working.

For this reason I try and limit sugar, especially before bed or my kids run rings around me.

Just to be clear, I am not one of those crazy mums who takes a Tupperware box full of blueberries with me to a kids party. I’m not a sugar Nazi…

I just understand that if they are having sugar or crappy food they may possibly start behaving badly and that’s not really their fault.

The only choice of food on a recent plane journey. Seriously? And then you expect them to sit still for three hours with their seat belts on?

E is for… Environment

I learnt during my teacher training days that kids are massively affected by their environment.

Wind was the worst. I’m not talking farts. Although when some smelly Year 9 boy would let rip a stinker of course that did affect the environment, as you can well imagine.

I’m talking mess and chaos. An unruly and unorganised classroom did make the kids act crazy.

FACT!

Now, my house is no show home, but every now and again I’ll have a toy sort and make sure all their stuff is tidy and organised and this usually makes them play with it better and for longer.

F is for… Fresh Air

As a teacher, rainy days (when the kids couldn’t go out at break times) were the worst! Losing a ‘letting off steam period’ would make them NUTS!

Cabin fever is an actual thing my friends.

Get your kids outside. Let them run around and play in the muck. I wrap mine up and get them outdoors as much as I can, whatever the weather. Outdoor play tires them out, plus they also soak up lots of vitamin D, so it’s win win. Get them to the park, get them out on their scooters or bikes, but if you’ve got stuff to be getting on with just shove them out in the garden on their own (always keeping an eye if they’re little of course).

Some games which keep mine occupied out there alone are;

  • Making potions – give them some old bowls/buckets and spoons and tell them to add lots of mucky ingredients.
  • Magic paint – a bucket of water and some large paint brushes and tell them to paint a wall or a fence until the whole thing is wet.
  • Bug collecting – give them a magnifying glass and some clear containers.
  • Den building – some old blankets, a few clothes airers or chairs and some pegs.

Once they’ve had a good hour outside you wont feel guilty about a bit of Nanny Netflix afterwards. Life is all about balance right?

Get em outdoors… no matter what the weather!

G is for… Good Role Models

Kids copy what you do. That’s how they learn.

When I was a drama teacher I used to get the kids to sit on the floor at the beginning of the lesson in ‘Circle Time’ and I used to get down there and sit with them. They really respected that.

My point is this, you can’t expect your kids to do things you don’t do.

As a teacher I always behaved as I wanted my students to behave. When I first met a new class we’d make up a set of rules together (this gave the kids ownership and was a great motivational tool), and so rules like ‘no shouting at one another’ would be a rule not only for them but also for me.

Talking to kids with respect, being calm and rational, fair and nice are all things you need to do in order for them to behave that way too. Think about the way you are talking to them. Are you shouting at them? Are you telling them they are naughty, annoying or stupid? Are you ignoring them? If the answer is yes, are siblings behaving in the same way towards each other? Towards you? Also with teenagers, if you want them to put that iPhone down… yeah… you get my point.

H is for… Happy Home

I recently noticed that if my husband and I are bickering or arguing then the kids start playing up too. I think for this reason you have to work at your adult relationships as much as you work on your parenting.  It’s hard when you are knackered and busy but making time for your partner, getting on and being nice to each other does seem to have a positive affect on behaviour. The happier my husband and I are it seems the happier and better behaved the kids are.

When times get hard or you drift apart you must always remember how you felt about each other the day you got married. Our humanist preacher told us that, and I’ll always remember it.

I is for… Information

I’m constantly watching programmes like ‘The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds‘ and reading forums and blogs on parenting. I talk to other mums about my kid’s behaviour and we share experiences and things that work. My little one is a fussy eater and there’s a lot of information out there, so I read stuff and try new techniques all the time.

I find watching programmes about kids and understanding their development and the psychology of their behaviour is great because you can learn to understand why your kid is acting a certain way. This helps me to be more patient and understanding.

For example, if we look at what learning theorist Piaget says in his Cognitive Development Theory, he talks a lot about egocentrism. This is a quality kids posses in the ‘preoperational period’ (from 2-7 years old).

Egocentrism is when a kid is unable to distinguish between their own perspective and that of another person. So children tend to stick to their own viewpoint, rather than considering the view of others.

This is something we are constantly trying to teach them right?

About the consequences of their actions, and how they’ve made others feel by behaving in a certain way? Information like this can be really useful to us. If we know this, then we can try not to take it personally when they maybe don’t eat a meal we have lovingly cooked from scratch. I used to do this all the time, but now I understand that they just don’t have the natural ability to put themselves in our shoes and see how it has made us feel. If they don’t want to eat the food we have prepared, that’s because it’s actually just all about them. Not in a selfish way, just in a – cognitively they don’t posses the power to see it any other way way.

No trouble getting them to eat this shit mind you.

J is for… Just Say ‘NO’

YOU ARE THE BOSS!!

If you want to say ‘NO’ say it and follow through. Saying ‘NO’ and then backing down when you see a tantrum about to erupt gives them all the power. They’ll just have a tantrum next time they want something.

It’s called learnt behaviour.

If you do this you are actually training them into having a tantrum if ever they want something.

Tantrums don’t wash with me. I’ve never been embarrassed when my kid has had a tantrum in public because 99% of the population know it’s normal kid behaviour and that it’s not your fault. When both my kids were very young and started having tantrums I would just walk out of the room and close the door on them.

DO NOT GIVE IT AIR!

They soon learn that’s not the way to get what they want. Now that they are older, if they have a (rare these days) tantrum they just have to go and sit on ‘The Step’ until they calm down.

Remember you are the boss! Use a stern expression and a firm, low voice. Show them you mean business. Also remember if you do give in just to avoid tears and stress, then you’re just setting yourself up for more tears and stress in the future. It’s like training a dog. Once they know ‘NO’ means ‘NO’ and that you will not back down no matter how much they scream and shout, they’ll quickly learn. I promise.

(Worth noting that it is hard to get to this point, it may take a few weeks or even months of tears and tantrums, but stick to your guns and be consistent)

K is for… Know Your Child

Ok, so sometimes there may be a good reason for bad behaviour. Has something upset them at school? Are they tired? Hungry? Thirsty? Sick? All these things can affect behaviour and it is important to go through this mental check-list when they are acting up.

It’s also important to recognise if your child has any specific additional needs. ADD, ADHD, ODD and Autism are all conditions that will affect a child’s behaviour. There can be other medical reasons for challenging behaviour too, from serious neurological conditions to hearing problems. (We all at some point, think are kids are deaf though right?)

If you think your child has a specific learning difficulty it’s important to get diagnosis, although I do think it’s important not to get hung up on these diagnostic labels. I’ve taught kids with severe leaning difficulties who have managed their behaviour perfectly well. Even so, a specific diagnosis may provide information on the differences between particular children and their behaviour. This in turn could present certain techniques and skills for managing that particular behaviour effectively.

L is for… Love

I love my kids so much, but it’s not enough just to feel it. You need to show it though hugs, kisses, kind words, gestures and positive praise. You need to tell them you love them so that they feel safe and secure (see Maslow’s theory). My family have always been quite tactile and loving but not all families are the same when it comes to showing love. You may think this is an obvious one, but it isn’t. Not to everyone.

TIP: When my two kids are fighting or bickering I usually stop them and say ‘But you love your sister don’t you?’ Then I ask ‘What do you love about her? Tell me three things?’ Sometimes I start it off by saying something like – ‘I love her because she gives the best hugs.’ Making them think of nice, positive things can sometimes quickly defuse a hostile situation. Try it!

 

Sister love. I’ll need to be pulling this one out when they’re teenagers right?

M is for… Meal Times

Structure wise we eat all our meals together (most days) as a family.

It’s a ‘baby led‘ thing.

This may not be possible for all families I know, because work wise it can be tricky. My second kid is super fussy and meal times are sometimes challenging, but I just think they would be even more painful if we weren’t all sitting down together and eating the same thing.

If you have a fussy eater it’s worth having a Google of the old baby led advice.

N is for… No Hitting/No Shouting

(kind of brushed upon on this in ‘being a good role model’)

When I say ‘no shouting’, don’t get me wrong, I do shout… sometimes. Standard morning routine always involves some level of shouting.

I did notice recently however that the more I shout the more the kids shout at each other… flattering really as they obvs want to be just like me (also very worrying in equal measure).

When it comes to hitting, I have very good friends who’ve told me that in a crazy moment of frustration and loss of self-control they have smacked their child. I’m not judging. I can easily see how it could happen and maybe it will happen in our family one day. I do however think these days there are better ways of managing kids behaviour than with physical violence.

That is why ‘The Step’ is so effective because when you feel your blood boiling and you’re about to lose your shit, get them on that step ASAP! Gather your thoughts and calm yourself down. My husband is pretty good at seeing when I am losing it and he’ll step in and take over and vice versa.

I think it is so important that we as parents don’t hit of smack our children.

How can we tell them ‘It’s not what we do’ if we do it? My brother and I used to get smacked as children and we used to hit each other a lot more that my kids do. Is there a connection here? Probably.

Bet there’s no smacking in rainbow land.

O is for… Ownership

I’ve talked a bit about ownership in ‘G’. Giving kids ownership is a great motivation for good behaviour. If they wont get dressed give them a choice of two outfits, or if they don’t tow the line saying ‘What would you rather, come and brush your teeth or go and sit on the step?’ can be really powerful. If they feel it’s their decision it can make a big difference.

P is for… Positive Praise

(Too obvious? Sorry if I’m being a patronising Polly here!)

I usually try and mix it up when it comes to praise. Saying ‘You’re such a good girl!’ all the time, can start to wash over them. So, I try and vary it by telling them they’re – kind, strong, clever etc. I also try to be specific. ‘It makes Mummy happy when you get dressed quickly because that means we wont be late for school.’ You get the picture.

I also read once that physical contact affirms these verbal comments, so whenever I praise I give a stroke of the cheek, a squeeze of the shoulder or a kiss.

TIP: Recently I discovered that getting my kids to help me with stuff (even though they are shit at it) e.g. sweeping up, shoving stuff in the washing machine, pairing up socks, allows me to give them some really specific praise. You can visibly see it makes them proud as punch…although inevitably they will try and manipulate you straight after by saying something like ‘Can I have a treat now because I am so good at helping you?’ Always a catch right?

Helping with the shopping – I got her to make a list complete with pictures. She had to find the items then tick them off as she put them in the basket. BOOM!

Q is for… Questions

How did your behaviour make mummy feel? How did it make you feel? How can we make it better? Why does mummy ask you not to do that?

Questions, questions, questions!!

Make them think. Make them work it out. Questioning is actually one of the Key Skills the government insist teachers include in all aspects of their curriculum, so if the government is telling us to do it must be right… ahem.

R is for… Reward Systems

I use an app called Behaviour World. It’s really cool and just like a digital sticker chart really.

So you download the app…

Then they choose their own characters and themes and you choose the targets/behaviours you want to concentrate on. I would advise no more than three at a time or they can’t remember them. (There is some theory about kids only being able to process three facts at a time, but don’t ask me what it is) You could just have one big target if there’s one tricky behaviour you’re trying to sort out. ‘Staying in your own bed all night’, used to be one of our biggys.

How the app works:

When they hit a target you reward them a coin, and then after winning however many coins, they reach their reward. The reward is something they have chosen, so it gives them a real sense of ownership and therefore is a great motivation for good behaviour.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot here…

My eldest once set the reward as ‘A Trip to the Zoo’ and when she reached it I was like, ‘Feck, there’s no zoo even in Cardiff!’

My reward chart. The prize? A whole day shopping. ON. MY. OWN.

Immediate rewards work better, if they hit their reward on say Monday you can’t make them wait until the weekend for their reward as they won’t necessarily connect the two things after all that time. A good one we’ve found is staying up late (maybe half hour?) and then you manipulate it so that the reward falls on a weekend. Extra iPad time is also a good one, or having a bag full of hair clips/lucky dip type stuff that they get to choose is also another winner.

Whatever happens they HAVE to have that reward (pretty quickly) or the whole thing falls apart.

We all have a chart in our house. Even the dog. Again you are not asking your kids to do stuff you wouldn’t do yourself. It’s also quite good fun, and a good way for us adults to see, what maybe we are doing wrong in the eyes of our children. E.g. One of my husbands targets set by the kids is ‘don’t be on your phone all the time.’

S is for… Sanctions

‘The Step’ (Covered next in ‘T’) will not work for every child, so if it doesn’t you need to use something else. Whatever happens, don’t let them get away with shit that is wrong.

If you don’t teach them who will? Are you just going to leave it to the teachers when they start school?

NO!

When they fuck up you need to clearly warn them what is going to happen if they don’t behave.

VERY IMPORTANT: YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH HERE!!!

Don’t tell them in a restaurant (we’ve all done this) ‘If you don’t behave we’re going home’, if you know that’s not going to happen. Even if it means tears or public tantrums you cannot make empty threats. They will soon learn that your threats mean jack shit and they will have no respect for what you say.

I usually confiscate a favourite toy or take away a treat like ‘Friday night movie night’ or the bedtime story. It’s hard and devastating when you see them so upset but be strong and tough. When they’ve calmed down talk it through and tell them you don’t like taking things away, but if their behaviour is bad, bad things will happen and if their behaviour is good, good things will happen.

The most effective one I ever used was when my little one bit her older sister. We were just on the way out the door to a friends Moana party and so I told her she couldn’t go. She was devastated and I felt terrible but it worked.

I promise you, your kid will not hate you if you are strict as long as you are fair and consistent. It’s a proven fact that kids feel safer and more secure when there are clear rules and boundaries in place. I learnt this as a teacher. The kids really liked the ‘strict but fair’ teachers because they knew where they stood with them and they felt safe knowing the rules and boundaries in their classes.

They will respect you and love you for it. If they respect you they will want to please you…end of.

T is for… Time Out

I use ‘The Step’. I think it’s a Jo Frost technique? I do a minute for every year of their age, somewhere boring and quiet where there are NO toys or fun things.

It doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for us. ‘The Step’ is not a punishment in our house that’s why we just call it ‘The Step’ and not ‘The Naughty Step’. It’s a place for reflection and for calming down. Sometimes for me, just as much as for them.

I hear a lot of parents say that they cannot get their toddler to stay on the step but I say ‘MAN UP!’ You’re bigger, stronger and cleverer than they are. It may take perseverance and hard work in the beginning but if they wont stay on you just plonk them firmly back. No eye contact and no talking.

You got this. YOU ARE THE BOSS!!

Parents worry their kids will hate them if they are too strict or firm. Not true. Quite the opposite in fact, as I have said before, they will respect you more for it.

After their time of reflection, get down to their level and talk to them. Explain to them what they did wrong. Never ask, ‘Why did you do that?’ because nine times out of ten the answer will be ‘I don’t know.’ It’s better to ask, ‘What happened because you did X?’ E.g. Instead of saying ‘Why did you hit your sister?’ you’d say, ‘What happened because you hit your sister?’ The answer will be the sister got hurt or she cried, or ‘I got put on the step.’ Talk about feelings here too, ‘How did that make your sister feel?’ (sad) ‘How did it make mummy feel? (angry) How do you feel now? (sad/sorry)

It’s good here to coax an apology out of them ‘Do you feel sorry? What do you think we should do now to make it right?’ I don’t always demand an apology. I’m not a parent on a power trip. For example if my kid has refused to brush her teeth, once she’s done her time and agreed to come do it I’m like – fine, done. No need for an apology there really is there?

It’s also worth noting here that sometimes I say sorry. If I’ve lost it or shouted or done something wrong I will always apologise. I think you saying sorry makes you a good role model and reiterates what I said earlier about not getting them to do things you don’t do.

Once they’ve either said sorry or agreed to do what you want, hug it out and move on. Be bright and breezy, and no dwelling or telling dad when he gets home. Once it’s over it should be over.

I also always use role models as examples. ‘Does your teacher at school hit you when she’s cross? Does Daddy hit mummy?’ Hopefully the answers here will be ‘no’, then you can just point out that it’s just not what kind people do.  If there is an apology I usually thank them and tell them I’m proud because saying sorry is hard. I tell them I love them no matter what, no matter what they’ve done. I always separate the child from the behaviour, (see ‘B’) which I talked about earlier.

U is for… Understanding

I’ve kind of covered this in ‘Information’… kind of. You should always try to understand why your child is behaving the way they do. If their behaviour is bad it’s usually not their fault. They’re still learning what’s right and wrong and it’s up to us to try and guide them through it.

Whenever I had a difficult student at school, I’d always look at all the contributing factors. Sometimes there’d be an absent dad, sometimes they were being bullied, sometimes there was a learning difficulty, sometimes it was something I was doing wrong.

Kids don’t want to behave badly, but frustration and lack of understanding/knowledge inevitably leads them down that path. Don’t hate them for that, or hold it against them. They’re just still trying to figure it all out.

V is for… Variation

Kids get bored. Lots of fun activities, clubs and days out keep them amused and therefore well behaved.

I do that toy rotate thing. Do you?

You know when you hide a box of stuff on top of the wardrobe and then when you bring it down a month later it’s as if it’s all brand new? Moving stuff around works too e.g. I recently moved their Ikea kitchen (which they hardly ever played with) to another room, and sure enough they play with it loads again now. Try it. It works.

A craft workshop at our local garden centre… I tend to choose activities which I will enjoy too.

W is for… Whatever Works

They say don’t use bribery, but if it works – bloody use it I say.

I once taught this Sixth Form class and we had an end of year terminology test, which no one ever revised for. I told them to all bring in a pound which they put in a pot, and the student with the best mark, would win all the money. I’m pretty sure this was not allowed but it didn’t half work let me tell you!

I bribe my fussy eater child with pudding all the time and that works. I also have used the ‘I’ll buy you a magazine if you…’ bribe, amongst many others.

If it works for you, do it. Anyway, a bribe is just the same as a reward. Surely?

X is for… X Rated Content

A lot of the challenging lads I taught as a teacher played war games and watched films that were way too old for them. Because of this they were really into fighting and violence. I’m not saying this was the only reason they behaved the way they did, but it was definitely a contributing factor.

With my little ones I did notice them start to fight more when they started watching Pokémon. They’d have ‘battles’ that would inevitably end in tears when the lines between play and reality were blurred.

This is not their fault; very young children’s brains can’t always effectively grasp the difference between make belief and real life. My advice is, to limit physical fighting, try to limit the stuff they watch that has fighting in it. Easy.

Have a think about the media they are consuming. Is it too old for them? Is it having an effect on their behaviour?

Y is for… You Time

It’s important you have a break. Being a parent is so tough. Accept any help that is offered. Book a baby sitter, leave them with your partner, with a family member or a friend and take time to do something for you. Whether it’s a twenty-minute bath, a gym session or a boozy night out. It’s not all about them, right?

Be selfish sometimes. Happy mum means happy kids after all.

Sometimes I hide at the bottom of the garden in my hammock and pretend like I never had kids…ahhhhh.

Z is for… Zeeeeez (sleep)

Like I said earlier, routine wise the bedtime structure is so important. My kids are hell when they are tired so bath/wash, story and then bed. Let’s try and get those little shits rested for 12 hours yeah? Ok, at least 11.

It’s also important that you are as well rested as you can be. I recently wrote about this here. If we don’t get enough sleep, we are not as energetic for play or as calm and rational when things go wrong. If we are knackered all the time we will not be effective parents. So rest up, sleep is king!

To Surmise…

Are my children perfectly behaved? NO! Definitely not, but they are pretty good, and that’s because I try and implement all the stuff I’ve talked about in this A-Z.

Be prepared for some hard work. Be strong, confident, loving, fair, consistent, calm and cleverer than them. Be informed. Keep reading and learning about your child’s behaviour, and gain knowledge about techniques that will help you manage it.

Parenting is the hardest job ever and most of us have had no training in behaviour management. Even though I’ve managed classes of 30+ challenging, valleys kids, getting those little buggers to do what you want, when you want (professional training or not), can be one of the toughest and most frustrating tasks ever…

… So good luck!

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this useful. Please share on social media if you think you know another parent who may also find this A-Z beneficial.