All kids need the boundaries firmed up sometimes and mine are no exception. In fact, lets just be honest, my kids need the boundaries firmed up often. They need daily reminders of our expectations and consistent encouragement to make wise choices.
A recent bout of particularly outrageous behaviour from our young man had us searching for strategies to keep him focused, calm and more manageable. We found that there were always toys scattered from room to room, the pace was always fast and energy at absolute fever pitch. Keeping on top of things was almost impossible, especially for this pregnant mumma.
In light of the impending birth of baby Beetlehshack #3 something had to be done, and fast.
I simply could not continue to spend the majority of every day with my voice raised and my temper dictating my responses.
While we have always discussed consequences and actioned them when necessary, a simple time out (or dare I confess it, the odd smack) was no longer achieving the results we were yearning for.
In my recent readings of this book, I have re-learned the importance of conscious, positive parenting and realised that for me to stay in control, things in the home needed to move a bit more slowly and with a touch more method in the madness.
We identified one main issues that we wanted to address - the amount of toys that our kids had immediate access to and the way in which they played with them.
Our first step was to confiscate all inside toys. Together Dave and I packed up the train sets, the lego and the duplo while large trucks and diggers were put in the sandpit.
That left craft supplies (safely packed away in a cupboard), the play kitchen and books at their disposal.
We decided that we would use a 'tick chart' for the kids to earn back their toy privileges. At the end of the each day, if they had received 5 ticks on their chart they could choose one toy to play with for a set period. After that time, the toys would be packed up and put back out of reach.
To be honest, I was dubious about this plan of attack, we've tried similar things in the past without positive results. But my desire to increase the calm won me over and we stuck to our guns.
The toys remained out of reach, the positive interactions increased and the ticks quickly added up.
Each day for the first week we would stretch up to the top of the wardrobe and carefully pull down the toy of their choosing. Together we would sit on the mat and built and train track, a duplo tower or a lego car. We would talk about the day and all of the wonderful things they had done to earn their ticks. Zeph's little face would truly beam with joy and I could tell that the rewards far surpassed the 'toy time'.
He could choose to listen, he could choose not to unstrap his seat belt, he could choose not to tantrum when he didn't get his way and he really can use his manners without the need to be reminded!
All of a sudden this boy has grown up.
We've been using the 'tick chart' for three weeks now and I can't tell you what a difference it has made to our home life. There are no longer toys scattered all over the floor at the end of every day, there are much less frequent squabbles over possessions and our kids are actually happier and more calm.
It feels good to have a parenting success and it feels great to be able to consciously reward my kids for their improved behaviour.
Hi, I'm Emily- The One With The Rough Kid.