Mama, I see you and that wild toddler in tow. Don’t worry it’s normal and this is a judgement free zone. Having two boys that are 14 months apart I have seen it all.
My goals as a mom… raising kids that aren’t assholes and finding a happy medium between mean mom and pushover.
I want to get there without being an asshole, without yelling, and without acting crazy!
First piece of advice surrounding disciple is to be consistent and make sure the entire family is on the same page!
Next tip before we move too far into the details… lets start with talking to our kids and getting them to listen. You need to get their attention and get on their level. When I need my boys to listen I will tell them ” Cameron please come here I need to talk to you” I will kneel down on his level, hold both of his hands and ask him to look at me in the eyes.
This is allowing him to really focus on me. Not the other kids running around, the 500 toys a Target, just me and what I need to say. I will repeat that he needs to look at me and listen until he is ready.
This also gives you a chance to pull yourself together and not react too quickly.
Behavior board for discipline
Establish a metric for good and bad behavior. We have a chalk board in our kitchen that holds our behavior chart. You want this to be visible to the family and in a common area where you can chat about it frequently.
HEART: The boys will get a “heart” on the board for being good (not just daily good). Hearts are given for going above an beyond just acting right.
X: Then we have the dreaded “x” for our board. This is clearly for when the boys aren’t listening or do something they shouldn’t be.
When we initially started our board we reviewed the difference between a heart and an x. We each listed actions/behaviors get you either.
Also, we review these often because they seem to change with the trends in our house. Like sometimes hitting is trending other times yelling is trending (We are a very trendy house).
Be sure to get your kids involved so that they can learn and help build the guidelines of how to act. The boys will tell me what to write for each, then we talk about them.
- Helping mom with an activity
- Cleaning up your toys when asked
- Sharing with a friend
- Having good listening skills
- Not listening
- Not sharing
So what do they get for an X or a heart?
- That changes from week to week. If we are going to a friends birthday party at the end of the week the boys know that if they get 3 X’s by the party then they do not get to go.
- For the hearts we aren’t great about giving “big” gifts or prizes. It’s little things like getting to be the line leader or candy. They really just love being able to brag about the number of hearts.
Before we really get into the actions that will help you, I will say that I’m all for “choosing your battles”. Not everything my boys do deserves a huge over the top lesson or discipline. Here are a few things I try to think about before reacting (which helps so much to stay calm and take a second before you act ).
- Is it hurting them or someone else
- Is this a isolated incident
- Do I really care that much
Discipline Level One – Making Better Choices
We need to help our kids make better choices. They are growing and learning what is right and wrong. We are here to teach them. Even if it seems like you are constantly repeating yourself (which you probably are) try to remember that they need this to learn.
When our boys are doing something wrong we try to push them to make a better choice by giving them another choice. (Lets face it when someone tells me a flat no and that’s it, it doesn’t fly and I’m 33 ha)!
Giving Choices for Discipline
- Lets say my oldest is throwing Legos across the room… “ Cameron, throwing Legos is not a choice. You can either stop throwing Legos and play nicely OR go play with another toy.” (Repeat)
- “Cameron, throwing Legos is not an option. You can go read your tractor book or go play with your blocks” (Repeat)
- If they are still not listening or choosing your good options then move onto the x.
- This can always be adjusted. Depending on how bad the actions is sometimes their alternative choice is one I know that they will not like… “Cameron, throwing Legos is not a choice. You can either stop throwing them and play nice or go sit in the time out chair for 4 min.”
If you are wondering where the x’s are in this scenario I wouldn’t really bring up them for this because they are wild boys and throwing Legos isn’t the end of the world to me. So I can correct and move on.
Giving an X for discipline
- So the boys are playing and something goes down that results in someone getting hit/pushed etc… “Cameron, hitting is not a choice! You are hurting your brother and getting an X.”
- If I’ve asked one of them several times then we move onto the X too.” Cameron if you get up from the table again (after I have asked him to sit down) you will get an x”. You can also bring up where they are on their chart. You have 1 X, if you get two more you will not be going to the party Saturday.”
I have a few more tips and trick that have really worked for our family and hope to make this a quick series that I share weekly, until all of our kids are perfect.
Here are the first tips that moms submitted when I brought up this topic.
- Consistency. Give two choices, but make sure that both are ones that you are okay with.
- Pick. Your. Battles! Let them wear the costumes/pjs and pick the battle of clean undies.
- Ignoring their behavior is sometimes the answer.
- Let them know you hear them. (So true they really just want out attention sometimes )
- Truly being empathetic to their emotions
- As a kindergarten teacher, I’m a huge advocate for creating routines at home.
- Learn how to open a bottle (my kind of mommin)
- Lock them in their room till they are 6 ( yes )
- Positive reinforcement
- Wine and margs after bedtime are great for toddler issues… for mom of course.
- Their rage / anger / sadness is like a train tunnel. Once they enter they have to get to the other side. (I like this)
- Time in vs. time out works wonders for us when we can. ( I havent heard of time in before, but you can read about it here . Also, I will be covering our version of timeout in the next series. )
You might like our post on how to keep your kids entertained without electronics!