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Character Building ~ 5 Parenting Tips Every Child Needs to Practice

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Do you find yourself sighing because you found an open box of stale cereal? Or perhaps went to give your dog a well deserved treat but his treat container was empty. If you'd like to teach your child 5 simple rules to make life easier and build her character too, just look inside.

My friend Tim Smith from Smile-Therapy.com sent me these character building rules. Let me know what you think.

Parenting Tip # 1:

If you open it, you close it.

When you teach your child to close what he opens, the cereal will stay fresh longer. The bird seed won't spill all over. The toy box will hide the tangled toys.

How do you teach this simple rule?

Tell him, "If you open it, you close it." It may take a thousand times before he gets it and it will be worth it.

Parenting Tip # 2:

If you empty it, you fill it up.

When you show your child where to find the bathroom tissue and how to fill up the empty roller, there will be less groans from the bathroom. The hand soap will have new bar after your child throws the tiny sliver away. The sink counter will be clear because your child will empty the dishwasher and then put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

How do you teach this simple rule?

Write or type this rule in large letters and post it on the refrigerator for a month. Refer to it often. Say it often. Make sure it becomes a well seasoned sentence inside your child's head.

Parenting Tip # 3:

If you turn it on, you turn it off.

If you make a point to teach your kids this rule, the TV will be turned off before your child runs out to play. The bedroom light will be turned off when your child comes for dinner. The music will be turned off before everyone goes to bed.

How do you teach this simple rule?

Repeat it often. Call your child back from fun activities to turn it off. He won't like the reminder after the 100th time and will be more consistent in turning things off. Compliment him when he does turn off the things he is using.

Parenting Tip # 4:

If you lose it, you find it.

If your child used the screw driver and laid it down somewhere, teach her to retrace her steps and find it. This will help with finding the TV remote. It will keep her homework in one place and she'll know where it is when she leaves for school.

How do you teach your child this simple rule?

Let her experience the consequences of losing things. Tell her to find the screw driver by remembering when and where she had it last. Tell her, "No computer games," until she finds the remote for the TV. Let her get in trouble in school for not handing in her homework.

Parenting Tip # 5:

If you borrow it, put it back where it belongs.

Teach your child to put back your hair dryer where it belongs by not letting her use it the next time. You'll be teaching her to put back her sister's bike. Your spouse won't be looking for the family calendar because she won't leave it on her bed.

How do you teach this simple rule?

Don't let her borrow the next time. Tell her to type or write out the rule and add it to the bulletin board in her bedroom. When the time comes to borrow something, ask her to repeat the rule to you.

The Character Building Rules' Conclusion:

Parenting isn't easy. Sometimes you have to repeat things over and over. Sometimes your child acts distracted or lazy. Don't pull your hair out. Be patient, firm, and kind. You're child will remember the rules once you've stressed them a thousand times in words and in actions.


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