Daily Routines & Habits
Children are creatures of habit. Undesirable behavior patterns will develop a life of their own if they are unchecked. The following suggestions can help ease children through transitional times with a minimum amount of frustration.
Use the following actions to help children settle down at night and get needed rest:
Note: When children prolong their bedtime but can get up when they are supposed to and are not tired during the day, their bedtime may be too early.
If children had good bladder control and have regressed, they may be reacting to trauma and need therapy. However, a small, immature, bladder often causes bed-wetting. Many children do not grow out of this condition until they are 10 or older. Often, a parent had the same problem as a child. Medication and “bladder training” can help:
Should children be required to keep their room clean, or can they be allowed to set their own standards? There is no right or wrong answer, but teenagers who have had their rooms kept clean for them when they were young will not automatically take over the responsibility just because they are older: Most children need training!
Although parents can become panic-stricken when a child does not come home on time, it is natural for children to be late now and then. Make sure you have considered the child’s viewpoint before establishing curfews and seek input from other parents or professionals. If problems persist, several courses of action can be taken:
Children vary greatly in the ages at which they become interested in good grooming. Simply train children who have other priorities by withholding privileges until they have taken baths, and brushed hair and teeth. Reassure children that they will not always need reminders. Make sure you are not overly concerned. Remember that some children do not need daily baths.
Many young teens engage in this behavior. Assess if young people are sneaking out due to an adventurous spirit or if it is a symptom of a more serious problem. The severity of the consequences will depend on the underlying causes.
When children over 4 are under stress or are chronically angry, they can tense their anal sphincter and not eliminate feces properly. Eventually, their bowels may stop sending messages to the brain when elimination is needed and some feces may leak out. A doctor should be consulted to rule out any medical condition. Stool softeners can be prescribed to relieve impacting, and the child can be rewarded for relaxing on the toilet and having clean pants. Relaxation training and helping children express feelings may be needed.
WAKING UP AND GETTING READY FOR SCHOOL
When an alarm clock or one reminder does not help a child get out of bed, find an action that does: use a fine water mist spray, hold a piece of vinegar-soaked cotton under the nose, or send rowdy pets into the room. A special breakfast treat, watching TV with breakfast, or another reward can be used as an incentive if the child is completely ready for school at a specified time. Always eat breakfast after a child is dressed and ready. When they are running late, children can be put into cars in their pajamas, provided you have a change of clothes and an instant breakfast.