Find ways to focus more on the good things that your children do, instead of the bad ones. Spend more time catching them doing good, instead of constantly nagging and hollering at them for having done something wrong. Several well-timed verbal acknowledgments beat the over-the-top praises. Mastering the secret of how to praise a child enables you to win the cooperation of your children without bribery, intimidation, manipulations, and other dirty parental tricks.
An example of how to praise a child
There were many times in the van when the kids were speaking at a courteously low voice or just dead silent, not screaming and crackling at some juvenile jokes and pranks. Or biting each other’s head off for some minor offenses.
I know it’s easy to just sit back and enjoy the silence. But I find that it’s only fair to to show them what I consider “good behavior.” So at the risk of them flying high at a compliment, I usually just comment nonchalantly, something to the effect of, “now, that’s the kind of quiet I like in the van… it’s an enclosed space and everyone enjoys being able to share this space and still talk without having to shout over each other.” They usually smile, not rather unsatisfactorily at the comment and resume their low chatter or silence.
This is of course, not without its own risk. For they sometimes were so pleased with themselves that they inevitably started chatting excitedly about nothing at all again.
But still, it would have been a teachable moment too good to miss.