Is your child driving you up the wall with her bad habits and various antics? Here's how you can help turn that negative behaviour into something positive!
Is your child really as naughty as you think she is? Or is she just struggling to find a better way to express herself?
Instead of punishing or chastising your little one for these presumably bad habits, as parents you can learn to identify how to flip it around and how to help your child channel her energy to more positive activities.
Rough play and dangerous stunts
If you often catch junior leaping off the sofa, climbing onto the table top, or wrestling with his siblings and sometimes even play fighting, you might worry about your children’s safety.
Possible causes: Kids learn through play so by rough-housing with one another or carrying out various stunts, it helps them develop many skills.
Your child might not be getting enough exercise or the opportunity to engage in physical activities, as studies have shown that children in Singapore were found to be physically inactive for 98.7% of the time during weekends and 90.2% of the time during weekdays.
Our suggestion: Encourage your little one to take part in (safe!) physical activities such as running around at the outdoor playground, picking up a sport, cycling around the neighbourhood, or even doing fun things together as a family.
The Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends that kids below seven years old should get up to three hours of active play daily in a safe environment; whereas older children (between 7 – 18 years old), should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.
You ask your child if she’s completed her homework and she looks you straight in the eye and says that she has, or that her teacher was away on holiday so there was no homework assigned for the week — but you later discover that much to your disappointment, this was actually a lie.
Possible causes: Young kids (around three to seven years old) are still learning to differentiate between fantasy and reality, so if your little one is telling tall tales, it’s probably just due to her wild imagination.
Once she turn five years old, she will slowly begin to understand the concept of telling a lie and also understand the importance to always be truthful, but could also be pushing her limits to see what she can get away with.
If you find your older child constantly telling fibs, it could possibly be due to fear of being punished if she told the truth about a certain situation.
Our suggestion: Try not to be too hard on your child and make her understand that it’s better to be honest — don’t be quick to punish her all the time, or she will fear telling you the truth.
If she seems to be filled with so many creative stories, put that imagination to good use and let her pen down her tales on paper.
You can also enrol her in a Drama class so she has another way to express herself and let her creative juices flow.
Drawing on furniture and breaking things
Most parents agree that once you have kids, it takes a lot of guts to have white furniture, white walls and delicate ornamental decor, because chances are that your little munchkins are bound to stain, scribble on, or break something!
Possible causes: To a child, a wall is like a blank canvas and during their early development, it’s easier for her to draw on something in front of her (such as your lovely clean wall) rather than something that’s placed downwards (like a piece of paper).
As for breaking things, most of the time kids are just busy exploring the world around them and still figuring out how things work.
Junior didn’t intend to break your DVD player, but she was just curious to know how many crayons she could shove inside the slots before the lights started to flicker.
Our suggestion: Keep breakable items (such as vases, photoframes, etc) out of your child’s reach and make sure that your house is child-safe for her own protection, as well as your favourite vase!
Gently remind your little one that drawing on the walls is not allowed and try taping up some large pieces of paper on the wall instead, or invest in a small easel to stick up some paper there for her to doodle on.
You can also let your aspiring Picasso draw and paint to her heart’s content in a fun art class for kids.
Go to the next page to read more about other bad habits that kids have that can turn out to be something positive!