10 Tips for Working With Children

1. Be a listener. Children crave opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings. Listen without judging. Remember, listening does not mean agreeing!!! Children who feel understood are more likely to listen to what adults have to say.

2. Stay positive. We all need to feel recognized for the things we do right! Offer compliments for effort and good choices.

3. Be a role model. Children learn from watching those around them. Demonstrate strategies for dealing with stress, anger, or anxiety. When you demonstrate coping skills, describe what you are doing and why you are doing it.

4. Be patient. Sometimes children need time and many, many reminders to learn a skill. Hang in there! Sometimes children demonstrate that they have gotten the hang of things just when we are about to give up!

5. Set boundaries. Children need to hear the word "no." Be clear about what is and is not allowed. Although children may not like rules, they feel safest when boundaries are clear. Explain that rules are set by you, not the television, children's friends, etc.

6. Set fair, but high expectations. Ask your children that they be the best they can be. Every child has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Teach your child to discover what he or she is capable of. Then expect no more, or no less.

7. Say no to power struggles. Sometimes children test limits. When upset they might argue, fight, and debate (sound familiar?). Offer matter of fact responses. Suggest time to cool down. Be clear about your expectations, stay calm, and avoid engaging the child in his or her attempt to argue.

8. Reinforce values. Discuss what it means to be a kind, caring, compassionate, and thoughtful person. Talk about everyday ways to demonstrate good character.

9. Communicate your thoughts and feelings. Explain what you think is right. Explain where you stand and why. Talk about how your child's actions make you feel (good or bad).

10. Be flexible. Being organized is great, but when life gets unpredictable, demonstrate how to be a problem solver and "go with the flow." It never hurts to have a "Plan B" to fall back on!