Why do we focus on the good behavior of children at the end of the year? And, for only one month? Seriously?
It's not productive. It's insulting. Dump the "Elf on the Shelf" and do something that will encourage good behaviors all year long. Besides, it's creepy to tell your child that an elf is watching them all day in their home.
The one thing experts agree on in parenting is that children need consistency. Consistency over the year is better than short bursts of consistency during one month.
Here are 3 steps that will maintain positive behaviors in your children all year long:
1. Use chore charts (every month)
Chore charts are a miracle tool for parents. It takes guesswork out of parenting.
Chore charts help everyone in the family know who is responsible for chores or tasks. This clears ups confusion. Using a chore chart every month for specific tasks will also serve as a journal for your child's behavior. Parents should review the chore charts every week or month depending on the child. Review the positive things and also areas where improvement is needed.
2. Document success
After each month, review what your child did well.
If they cleaned their room, use your phone or camera to take a picture. Pictures are worth a thousand words and will provide your child with a positive memory with you. This will be a powerful reminder for them in the future of what they did well.
Pictures are easy to take and easy to share. Your child (and you) will enjoy reviewing these positive moments later in the year. In your review in December, you can review the chore charts and the successes throughout the year.
3. Connect positive behaviors to gifts
In December, review all the chore charts and pictures you have taken with your child throughout the year. It will be fun to review all the positive things they have done. It will also provide you with an instant scrapbook with a picture of your child for every month that year.
Then, you can connect their positive behaviors to holiday gifts. The connection between behaviors and reward will be more profound. They will also learn that some rewards take a lot of time and work to achieve. It is a great time to talk to them about delayed gratification as well.
You can also be creative and use the pictures from throughout the year to decorate for the holidays. It's a helpful hint to keep children's positive behaviors they have during the holiday season with them all year round.
This is something that any parent can start in 2016.
This article was originally published on Smarter Parenting. It has been republished here with permission.