Thank you for being part of our journey these 3 years! We've so appreciated all your kind words and visits. Onward and upward with our journey!
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
5 Pairs of Shoes All Neat in a Row
Dear My Toy Garden friends,
Ding Dong. They were here. I'd been nervous about their arrival all morning. She'd asked if she could bring a few extra children along to the playdate. "Sure!" I'd said but my my inner voice thought....A few extra? How many? Who? Do they eat crayons? Will my cat be safe? The images that danced through my head were ones that often led to the need to go find my happy place. The moment had arrived and here they were. As the door swung open I saw her smiling face with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 smiles lined up behind her. They all had their hair brushed, ponytails perfectly poised and were wearing 2 shoes that matched. Those matched shoes were taken off and lined up neatly in pairs by their owners who all gave me a cheery, "Hi Mrs. Pillsbury! Thank you for inviting us over!"
Two hours passed and not a fuss, not a bother, not a "That's Mine" was heard. Instead, "Your turn", "Please" and "Thank you" were the norm of the morn. Time to go was greeted with an "Okay!" and a magical elf like whisking away of the toys to their proper places. Shoes returned to the proper feet. Each child thanked me for coming and quietly left.
What?!?! How does that happen?! Were they beaten before they came and threatened to be beaten afterwards? Nope, Sarah just knew the key to getting great behavior from children. Want to know more? Her secrets are revealed below.
Step #1 - Decide on Your Non-negotiables. What behavior is a must have in your home? Focus on one behavior at a time. Let some things slide to focus on the one that matters most to you. Children are human after all and make mistakes. Good behavior is taught and mastered with practice. It is not part of the DNA that suddenly sprouts when needed.
Step #2 - Explain the Chosen Behavior Clearly. Often times we expect children to read our minds. Why do they not know what "behave" means? Respectfully, calmly, clearly explain what is expected of them. Have eye contact and ask them to repeat to be sure the words didn't fall in one side and out the other.
Step #3 - Use Positive Phrasing. Say, "Don't Run" or "Don't Hit" to a child and what they hear is "Run!" and "Hit!" The negative words seems to fall away and the other word given more emphasis than ever. Try "Walk please" or "Be gentle with your hands please" instead. Phrasing desired behavior in positive terms makes it heard more clearly and more likely to be followed.
Step #4 - Adopt a Mantra. Choose a phrase that when the going gets tough, you can murmur over and over to your child like a broken record until that phase has past. For me, it's "This is What We Do." But I want....this is what we do. But I need....this is what we do. If I.....this is what we do. If you are consistent when they are persistent, you will reach your goal in the long run. Cave once...just once... and you'll take 4 times longer to reach the goal than you would have. We are the grown ups. We just need to do it one more time than they do. Trust me. It's sooo worth it in the long run!
Step #5 - Repeat with the next non-negotiable behavior. I've used this technique with both of my children from everything from please and thank you to potty training them both by age 2. Parenting is a super tough job and you can do it with a little help from your My Toy Garden friends! We're here for you!