With all that has happened over the past few months (that feel like years), many parents are struggling with kids’ behavior that seems to have disintegrated while being at home. On this blog, we often give tips for behavior in the classroom, but kids are kids that behave like kids anywhere and everywhere they are—especially at home.
If it seems as if someone came in the middle of the night and replaced your child with a kid from another planet, you may need to listen. His behavior is trying to tell you something, and you need to be sure you’re speaking his language. Below are some points that may help you translate what your child is telling you.
- I need attention. Whether you’re working from home due to COVID-19 or busy with increased normal duties at home, your attention toward your child may have moved to the back burner. If your child needs attention but gets it only when she’s misbehaving, she’ll continue those actions. Whatever gets the most attention wins. When possible, stop what you’re doing and just enjoy your child. Play a board game, take a walk, make a craft … whatever your child wants to do. And ENJOY it!
- I don’t know what you want from me. If you’re disappointed that your child hasn’t stepped up and helped with all those extra chores around the house – TELL him! It could be that it hasn’t crossed his mind that you expect him to. (Of course, we all wish they just knew to do this, but they’re not that mature yet. It does come later – I promise!)
- I’m bored. Let’s face it. We all are. Remember that kids are made to move! Consider putting together a flexible schedule to help kids stay busy. Be sure to include time for lots of fun—even during chores.
- I need some control. Anxiety is running high right now. We feel we have no control over anything happening to us or around us. Kids feel it, too—because they have control over even less! Try to find ways to give your kids control over what they’re doing during the day. Let them decide on dinner—maybe even have them make it; ask them to speak in to the family calendar; make clothing choices—even if it’s a princess dress or a superhero cape all day; maybe even let them decide on the timing of chores.
Most of all, try to help life seem “normal” again. Kids need consistency. Help them feel safe during these crazy times when the world outside is changing constantly. Be the constant in their lives, and listen!
Klista Storts serves as an Editorial Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Kids. Before coming to LifeWay, she served as the Weekday and Preschool Specialist at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as Director of Preschool Ministries at churches in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Klista has a passion for equipping leaders to share the love of Christ and lay foundations for conversion in the lives of kids.