- Stick To A Timetable
Plan it with him. “Set a specific time in the day to do a certain activity and follow this for a few weeks. Plan something non-academic first, followed by something acadmic,” advises Alan Yip, master trainer and founder of Mind Edge. In order for your kid to stay true to his timetable, he needs to see you as a good role model. “For example, stick to a bedtime yourself if you want your child to do the same,” says Alan.
- Complete The Tasks
Set clear rules and consequences to help your child focus on completing his homework or chores. “Don’t allow him to negotiate or bargain,” reminds Alan. “Your child needs to understand and agree from the very beginning that there are consequences for not keeping to his tasks. If he fails to follow, he has to bear the consequences.”
- Stop Procrastinating
Give him specific responsibilities, like putting the dirty dishes in the sink. Praise him when he remembers to do it and remind him when he forgets. “Help your child to focus on the ‘feel-good’ aspect of completing his task. Praise and thank him whenever he finishes an assignment on time. It also helps to give him short-term goals – a list of responsibilities you can monitor to see how long he takes to finish each errand.
- Stop Whining
Ignore him the moment he starts. But try to find out when he doesn’t like doing a certain task, advises Alan. “Then, offer him alternatives or solutions so he does not complain anymore. And acknowledge his efforts when he follows your orders without whining.” Also, never complain in front of him when you talk about work, adds Alan. “Instead, show him what you enjoy about doing the household chores or office work, and encourage him to do the same.”
- Pick Up Reading
Start by reading from a young age to stimulate their interest, suggests Alan. “But make reading time random to keep them in suspense and make it more enjoyable for them. When reading aloud to boys, ask them to draw the story on a piece of paper based on what they’ve heard. For girls, have a sharing session with them later to find out what they thought of the story and the lessons learnt,” says Alan.
- Pick Up After Himself
“Show him how you pick up his toys and put them back into place. Explain to him what you are doing and ask him to do the same. Soon, he will learn to make this a habit,” notes Alan. Avoid nagging as this will cause him to associate cleaning up with negative feelings – teach him to enjoy the task instead. Also, teach your child to take responsibility for his actions. “Don’t give up and do it for him. If your son has a bad habit of leaving his dirty clothes on the floor or not washing his used cups, let him suffer the consequences of not having clean clothes to wear or a clean cup to drink from. Make it clear to him that you will not do it for him, so he needs to do it himself,” says Alan.
- Interact Well With Others
Greet the people you meet with a smile, and encourage them to do the same. When they do, praise them for it. If your child is introverted and uncomfortable when meeting new people, do a little role-playing at home, suggests Alan. “If he’s invited to a party, tell him to expect to meet strangers. Practise what he could say or do in such a situation. This will help to ease his tension and prepare him to mingle at the party.” Build up your child’s self-confidence by giving him more opportunities to speak in public places. “Get him to order at a fast-food restaurant and praise him for his effort,” says Alan.
Text: Azlinda Said, Simply Her, April 2014 / Additional reporting: Sylvia Ong