When my family gets together with our friends, it is quite common for us to talk about our children and in particular to talk about how a child’s behaviour changes when we are out shopping, visiting friends or in unfamiliar surroundings.
There are numerous reasons why a child’s behaviour changes. Unfamiliar surroundings and people can trigger change, or it could be the drive for fun and excitement, that may arise for the child. Plus, let’s not leave out the possibility that maybe the rules at home are different in this new setting. It could be a combination of these and others.
The first thing I learnt quickly as a parent, was when taking your children anyway, it is important to talk with your child about where we were going. The next step, was to explain that we couldn’t touch things. Part of this explanation was to say that it is not our home or our things. Once your child begins to talk and they can express themselves even with a few words, this is a great time to talk with them about what is nice and not nice. Children have an amazing ability to understand early concepts, especially if we deliver these messages with the appropriate tonality.
Another useful tip is, to make sure before you go out, that your child is well fed, has a change of clothes and ask your child to bring along one favourite toy. We would always let our child choose one or two favourite toys. Being well fed before you go out and having a toy, helps the parent to avoid the cravings for food and a new toy.
It is just as helpful to let the child know that there are different rules at other peoples home or when they go out, so the time we take to explain, the easier it is on our children and for ourselves. If your child does play up do not hesitate to cut your visit short so that the child knows that our behaviour has an effect. Once back in your normal setting it is a wonderful time to talk about the experience and to explain what we do next time.
The more time and thought we place into our planning and preparation the easier it can be. These new experiences help us to teach our children about visible and invisible boundaries.