Monday, May 7, 2012

Disciplining Your Child while on Vacation

Ahhh, summer vacation; a time for visiting relatives, taking road trips and seeing new places. It also means changes in routine, strange hours, confined spaces and unfamiliar faces which can add up to discipline issues with your kids. They’re tired, in a strange place, strapped into the car seat or the aircraft, and these agitations may trigger acting out.

One of the important things to remember while on vacation is that you are the consistent link to your kids' “routine” life. They look to you, even on vacation, for consistency in discipline.

Discipline isn't about yelling at kids when they're misbehaving – it’s about teaching appropriate behavior and self-control. Because you are on vacation, there may be situations where the normal method of discipline you use for each child doesn’t quite work. So here are some tips on how to modify your techniques.

Acting Out on an Airplane

Time-out on an aircraft? Yes, but make it “passive" time-out. Simply ignore the annoying
behavior (as long as it’s not destructive, of course). Turn away and act like you don't care; in other words, remove yourself as your child’s "audience." When you ignore an inappropriate behavior, you extinguish it . . . usually. The hard part is acting like you don't care. The minute your child calms, or talks in a desired voice, etc., then turn and talk to him. He will see that he gets attention for the correct behavior.
If your child is totally out of control and you don't want the other passengers rioting against YOU, escort your child to the airplane bathroom for a brief time-out. At least you'll have his full attention while the other passengers breathe a sign of relief and thank you.
Acting Out in a Restaurant
Public eateries with the noise, confusion, and stimulation (or strange foods) can trigger inappropriate behaviors. Plus, when YOU sense the watchful gaze of others, you might get nervous or compromise in your alert discipline. If your child goes off, I recommend removing him from the room. Go sit in your car for a moment to allow the silence to help him calm. Wait until he quiets, then talk about the behavior you want to see and return to the restaurant. I know it's an inconvenience to you but, you must address the issue right then and there. If you plead, beg, or coerce your child it only prolongs the public problem and irritates other people trying to enjoy their meal.
Always take along a variety of "restaurant" toys. Keep your child entertained while sitting at the table. Do not allow your child to run around the restaurant; it is dangerous to him and annoying to other people.

Anytime Tips

Be mindful of how often you say “don’t” to your child. Instead, try to give a positive directive such as “keep your shoes on” or “put your hands in your lap.” Remember, you want to teach your kids the RIGHT behavior, instead of always telling them to stop wrong behavior. Simply put it in the positive.
Have fun on vacation. Remember your child might act out because of the confined car ride, the cramped airplane, new faces, or new schedules or food. Be patient but be consistent. Your children need a dependable parent. Soon, you’ll be home again; in the familiar routine and rules.
More parenting help and tips are available every Tuesday morning on The Parent's Plate Internet radio show. Put it on your calendar to listen so you can be the informed parent you want to be.


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expert witness said...

People learn in different ways. Some learn best by seeing, others by hearing, and still others by touching.

mark louis said...

I am totally Agree with this. An Thank you so much for Posting this wonderful Information for parents when they are on vacation with their children/ Parents should always with children Because Security of kids is too important factor. Very Nice and Useful Tips.

Parenting Expert Brenda Nixon said...

Thanks for reading and leaving your comment. Yes, expert witness, people do learn in different ways and that's why parents must tailor discipline to each child - it's neither fair nor realistic to discipline all kids the same way.