Santa has a long list of children to keep an eye on all year-round; help lighten his load a little and create a fun and engaging way to encourage your child to develop good behaviors. By reporting your child's behavior to Santa regularly, you provide a continuous motivation to help him work on sharing, controlling his temper and other little difficulties while also providing a special mommy and me time.
Create a behavior chart for you to record good and bad behaviors each day of the week. Write the days of the week along the top and create a grid that provides enough room for you to write a little detail about each behavior. The point of the chart isn't simply to write “Good” or “Bad” behavior, but rather to keep a record of the precise activities you deem to be good and bad behaviors.
Talk to your child about the chart; explain the type of positive and negative behaviors that warrant being recorded on the chart. A dirty look from your child when he's angry might not warrant reporting, but an all-out temper tantrum in the middle of the store will probably make the list.
Record each of the behaviors you've discussed on the chart for a week. Offer plenty of praise and encouragement for good behaviors.
Choose a time each week to review the chart with your child. If your parenting style includes rewards for good behavior, now is a good time to issue a reward. Write down the noteworthy behavior to report to Santa -- you can include every good and bad behavior on the list or you might be able to ignore a few of the bad behaviors if your child has made amends.
Erase the current week's record of good and bad behaviors from the behavior chart, if it is erasable. If it's not erasable, make a new chart for the next week.
Repeat the above steps for three more weeks to collect a month's worth of good and bad behaviors -- and give your child an opportunity to erase a few of those negatives.
Write a letter to Santa with your child. Emphasize all the ways your child has demonstrated good behavior, mention the bad behaviors that haven't been “erased” from the list and talk about the efforts your child has made to make improvements. The purpose of the activity is to encourage good behavior, not to harp on the bad stuff.
Items you will need
- Behavior chart
- You can write a letter to Santa every week instead of once a month, but your child might get bored with the activity. Make it a festive once-a-month event and sit down with milk and cookies to write the letter. Forget Christmas -- kids will work hard to improve their behavior for this mom-and-me activity.
- Once your child has begun to write, you can make the activity even more exciting by having him write a behavior report about you to Santa. It will be a wonderful keepsake!
- Cognitive Therapy Techniques for Children and Adolescents: Tools for Enhancing Practice; Robert D. Friedberg, et al.
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