Now that our child has reached the wonderful age of five, there are new ways of handling discipline and limits than when he was two or three, since he has reached new development guidelines at the motor, cognitive, language, socialization and independence levels. However, set limits and rules for 5-year-olds it is not a bed of roses either; in fact, it is sometimes exasperating. For this reason, we analyze what we can expect from children of this age and what strategies we can follow to make these rules really work.
- 5-year-olds have greater dexterity and agility. They can run, jump, swing, swing, etc.
- They have developed better fine motor skills. They are better able to use silverware, brush their teeth, draw fluently, and write a few letters.
- Have longer attention spans and a better understanding of what they see and hear. They are able to follow the rhythm of a movie or a story and even make (sometimes surprising) reflections on it.
- They perceive everyday reality more clearly. They understand much more what is happening around them; They know the use that is given to the most everyday objects, they become more aware of some activities in their routine and their reasons, such as bathing, washing hands and teeth, wearing pajamas to sleep, etc.
- They start to have friends. They have more fun in a group than alone, they talk about their friends, they want to please them, and they begin to be aware of group rules.
- They are more self-aware. They know their gender, they begin to understand the differences between boys and girls more clearly, they know their full name, their address, etc.
- At this age there is a greater development in language. At this stage they begin to talk much more, they are able to have fluent conversations, relate daily experiences, jokes, etc.
Taking into account all these new abilities and skills that our children have at this age, it is evident that we can use new strategies and ways to strengthen our ties with them, as well as foster habits, values and establish limits.
Therefore, below we talk about some of the strategies that must be followed so that these limits are effective and, at the same time, do not lead us to despair.
1. Play with them
It is essential to get involved in their world, play with them, laugh with them, observe their reactions, become accomplices in those things they enjoy, etc. The better our bond with them, the better they will respond to us when we want to set limits.
2. Validate your feelings
When they get frustrated or angry, it is important to let them know that we understand that they are feeling angry but that they need to calm down in order to resolve it. It is also a good way to help them manage their basic emotions.
3. Reinforce good behaviors
When our son behaves in the expected way, it is good, to motivate him and to let him know that we are proud.
4. Punish with actions related to the offense
As much as possible, we should look for logical consequences related to the behavior. For example: If you had a fight with a partner, we must ask you to apologize and bring a detail. If you've thrown a tantrum over something we DIDN'T buy from you, there is no way we should buy it or agree to your wishes just to calm you down.
5. Encourage behaviors, habits and values through movies and stories
At this age, a wonderful tool to lead them to reflection and to model positive behaviors and values are movies and stories. At the end, it is good to ask them what they thought, what they would have done instead of the protagonist, if certain actions were right or wrong and why, etc.
Sometimes, motivated by fatigue or frustration, we have attitudes that do not help at all when it comes to setting rules and limits for 5-year-olds. Here is a list of these things to avoid.
6. Give them a screen all the time to entertain themselves
In today's times, it is easy to turn to tablets, cell phones or video games to keep them calm; In certain situations it may be necessary, but if we let it become their full-time hobby, we will miss the best of this stage and will NOT help them develop imaginative play, physical skills, social skills, etc.
7. Underestimate your emotions
With the typical phrases of: 'it's not that bad', 'that's why you don't cry', etc. In this way we will send the message that it is not good to cry or show your emotions. Of course you need to work on your anger management, but when you are calmer.
8. Only react to negative behaviors
If we only react to bad behaviors, our child, in order to obtain attention, will be able to unconsciously repeat them to achieve what he feels he cannot achieve in another way.
9. Punish everything you enjoy
There are parents who exaggerate a bit in the handling of punishments and tend to give general punishments or to take away everything that they enjoy before a tantrum or bad behavior. That confuses and frustrates them; in this way it is more difficult for the real message of the behavior to change to reach them.
10. Don't lead by example
Everything that we ask of our son must be modeled by us. We cannot pretend that they understand that they must have tolerance for frustration and remain calm, if they see that we yell and react terrible if a car passes us while we are driving, if we lose control looking for something we have lost or even if we raise our voice to them.
You can read more articles similar to How to set limits and norms for 5-year-olds without despair, in the category Limits - Discipline on site.