Tips to Keep Your Child on Their Best Behavior in Public

Showdowns with kids at home are regular; any mom will tell you that. There always seems to be something that makes kids want to scream, wail or throw a tantrum every once in a while. This behavior begins to manifest itself when kids are around 22 months old and can last for a long, long time. And it isn’t always a temper tantrum you need to look out for. Sometimes, out of nowhere, your kid can (and very likely will) decide something is extremely funny or worth discussing loudly and no amount of subtle shushing from your side will be able to stop it.

While you might be accustomed to your kids loud screaming and sometimes annoying habits, that will not be the case for the rest of the world. That being said, you might dread thinking what the poor diners will do or where the fellow moviegoers might want to hide when your kid decides it is time for some vocal cord training.

Tips to Keep Your Child on Their Best Behavior in Public
Tips to Keep Your Child on Their Best Behavior in Public

Get Your Kids to Behave in Public – 6 Easy Steps

If you have been nodding or saying ‘yes’ to the scenarios listed above, you are probably battling the same problems that many parents face on a day to day basis. But there is no need to be suffering in silence anymore. Here are our top tips for how to make your kids behave themselves in public

  • Because I Said So – Imagine this: Your 3-year-old accompanies you to the grocery store and starts throwing things around. You reprimand her and ask her to put them back. She asks why and you say “because I said so”, thinking you will appear fearsome and your child will cower and obey. Highly unlikely! Your chances of succeeding at getting her to pick up those candies and biscuits and keeping them back is higher if you can give a rational explanation that she can relate to.
  • If You Want Hot Chocolate Before Bedtime – It is very, very tempting to resort to bribing when kids start behaving exceptionally badly in public. If promising three candies after lunch can allow everyone in the theater to watch the Oscar-winner in peace, why ever not? It is a small price to pay, you might think. But here is the truth – you are going to pay a much bigger price in the end. Your little act of bribery is teaching your kid a much bigger lesson and that lesson is this – if I behave badly, mommy will give me something. If you think from their perspective, they behaved badly and instead of being punished they were given something for keeping quiet which they should have done in the first place anyway. See how complicated this can get?
  • Tips to Keep Your Child on Their Best Behavior in Public
  • Don’t Do That – Don’t touch this, don’t move that, don’t scream, don’t put that in your mouth, don’t talk while eating, don’t play in the dirt, etc., don’t work with kids. Tell your kids not to do something and chances are that they will do just that. Replace negative statements with positive ones by simply rephrasing your responses.
  • Please? Thank You – If you want someone to respect you, you have to respect them in the first place – it is as simple as that. And there is no reason why this rule should not apply to kids. “Amy, please put that toy back” is more likely to be paid attention to than “Amy, I asked you to put that toy back immediately. Did you hear me? PUT THAT BACK!”
  • Pied-Piper of the House – You would have heard many experts say this or read this in self-help books and then dismissed it with an ‘easier said than done’ or by rolling your eyes. But being a role model truly helps! If your kids see you putting your coat back in the coat hanger every single day, they are more likely to listen to you when you ask them to do the same thing. If they have seen you throwing your coat on the couch or dropping it on the carpet, no amount of screaming, threatening, bribing, punishing will help.

There is no guarantee that these measures or anything else that you are trying will help kids behave better in public. Whatever the outcome, stop blaming yourself or your parenting skills for your kid’s misbehavior. Sometimes, all you can do is think on your feet and improvise!

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