Consistency is the Key!

Ashley HsawBag O' Tricks

“Be consistent and follow-through, be consistent and follow-through.” You hear this over and over and over again, but what does it actually mean? And why is it so crucial when it comes to child development?
As we all know, children thrive through some form of structure and routine. When we, as parents and educators, draw boundaries for our children, they feel a sense of security. Boundaries and rules are also proven to teach children self-control and form positive relationships between the parents and children.
But what happens when they test our limits? While it is almost children’s “jobs” to push our limits, it is also our job to bring them back in. For example, if a child is constantly climbing on a table, we know that it is not a safe choice. Hence, we bring them back down in order to protect them from losing their balance, falling off the table, you name it. Sometimes we’ll use our words (“Feet on the floor..”), other times, by our actions (helping them down literally). However, we know that most children will not just stop the first time you ask them. They’ll climb up again right after you’ve just brought them down. What do you do? Bring them back down again. How many times do you need to bring them down in order for them to understand that no means no? However many times it takes. Seriously. After a while, your child, no matter how strong-willed, will get tired of climbing on the table just to be brought back down again and again and again.
Imagine this: If every single time you drive over 65MPH on the freeway, you get pulled over by an officer and issued a ticket. Will you do it again? The reason we continue to drive above the speed limit, is because we are not given a ticket 100% of the time. We want to “test our limits” to see how far we can go without getting caught. The same goes for child development. If every time your child tests your limits and does the opposite of what you want him/her to do, be consistent and follow through. Do what you said you would do. If you said, “If you climb up on the table one more time, you will not be given any dessert”, DO NOT GIVE IN by giving him dessert. Stay strong. Similarly, if you said, “If you get down right now, Mommy will give you $100,” sorry Mom, you’re going to need to give them $100.