Get on the floor and play. Do what your child is doing. Roll around with them. Put a pillow on your head for a hat. A child’s job is play. Be playful with them. Children don’t stop being playful at 5 years old. Play with your 8, 10, or 12 year old.
Provide routines that your child can understand and be a part of. Create space in busy daily schedules to find enough time for play, meals, bath, and bedtime routines.
Give more time. Wait for 10 seconds after you ask your child a question or tell them to do something before repeating it or asking it differently. Do not answer your own question. Only ask important questions. If you ask a question, be ready to honor the answer they give. Make sure you have your child’s attention before you tell them to do something or ask a question. If not, it’s you who will be frustrated.
Do what you say you will do. Period. Even if they forget you promised a toy if they were well behaved. Remind them. Mean no if you say no. It builds their confidence in you. If you are not in charge, they will take on that role.
Go outside. Fresh air and exposure to nature are necessary for our health and sanity. Get away from computers, TV’s, and cars. New experiences encourage brain growth!
Consider food and other allergies. Sugars, wheat, dyes, fragrances, dust, pets, and many common foods can be strong allergens. Talk to your pediatrician about special testing for allergies.
Get your child’s hearing and vision tested. If your child has a lazy eye, eyes that aren’t symmetrical, or if he or she squints or looks at things very closely a lot it may be a sign of trouble with vision. He or she may have difficulty later with attention and visual motor skills such as handwriting or reading.
Encourage problem-solving skills. Let your child struggle a little before you step in and do things for him or her. Frustration is normal. Accomplishments are more rewarding when you have to work a little for what you get.
Make your child feel important. Give him or her special jobs around the house (giving the dog fresh water, spritzing the houseplants, matching socks after they come out of the dryer, setting the table, etc.)
Talk to and listen to your child. Read books and point out interesting pictures in the background. Babies as young as a couple months can start to enjoy looking at books and learning the names for things. Make up stories. Sing songs. Tell them why. Explain what you are doing. Tell them what is coming next and when something will be finished.