I may be a professional parenting specialist, but that doesn’t mean I have perfect children.
Lately, the terrible threes have hit our house hard. (Does anyone else think three is soooo much worse than two?)
Don’t let that angelic face fool you.
Lately there has been plenty of this…
and some of this…
She even ran away and hid at the end of a church function with hundreds of people. One of our friends heard her laughing in the bathroom (which we had searched three times!) because we couldn’t find her.
Do you ever wonder how the “professionals” handle their own children? I can only speak for myself, but I do have a system.
The process I like to use has three steps: Cue, Do, Review
Of course before we can get to any of the steps, the parent (in this case, me) has to remain calm. Can I tell you a secret? I like to pretend they’re not my kids. Not to rid myself of responsibility, just so that I make sure to watch the way I talk to them. I try to talk to my own children with the control and authority I would have used in my classroom when discipline was necessary. My teacher-means-business voice is always more affective than my there-goes-mommy-yelling-at-us-again voice.
Once you have it together…
Step 1: Cue
If you are familiar with Love & Logic, this is where you would use the “uh-oh” song. Just give them some kind of verbal signal to tell them that what they are doing is not a good idea. You might even want to ask, “Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
Step 2: Do
You already gave them a cue to stop, but they did it anyway. Now it’s your turn to do something. Give them a time out, take the toy that they are fighting over away from them, or hand them a soapy rag and have them start scrubbing the crayon off the wall.
Step 3: Review
I know that Love & Logic advocates letting the kids figure it out for themselves, but the educator in me just can’t pass up an opportunity to review a learning experience. The important thing is to watch what you say and how and when you say it.
- Example: “You seem to be pretty frustrated today. It can be hard to share when you don’t want to. Let’s think about what you could do next time.”
- Non-Example: “Do you know why you are in time-out? That is the fifth time this week that you took a toy away from your sister! You are so naughty sometimes! Mommy had to put you in timeout to teach you a lesson. I hope you learned something. Next time you need to share!” (Don’t we all sound like that mom sometimes!)
What about your family? Do you have any tricks you use with your kids?