It's time for some changes around here. I'm done listening to the seemingly constant whining and tantrums. I'm done arguing for half an hour with kids who need to learn to take no for an answer. I'm done telling kids 908 times to be quiet and just go to sleep already. I'm done with the backtalk and the sassy attitudes.
Obviously, what I'm already doing to stop these behaviors isn't working so it's time to try some new tactics.
So here's the plan.
We will be practising the "Obedience Game" several times a day. The Obedience Game is where I randomly throughout the day tell a child to do something such as come over to where I am, jump up and down, sit down, etc. If they obey immediately with a good attitude, they get a big hug from me. If they don't, then no hug. The kids love this game and ask to play it. I haven't played it consistently with them though. Now it's going to be a part of our everyday life. Obedience is not just about listening to parents, it's about safety. I can't tell you how many times I've had to run out into the street to grab Little Man. When I tell a child to "come here" or "stay there," it's very important that they obey immediately!
I printed off a copy of our family rules and posted it where the kids can see it everyday. No, they can't read yet, but it'll be good for Hubby and me to be able to see it. Also, being able to point to a rule when a child is misbehaving is like having backup on the discipline front.
In conjunction with the family rules, I cleaned out two baby food jars and wrote each of the kids' names on one. In the morning, I put 10 marshmallows (or chocolate chips, or any small treat I have on hand) in each jar and put them on the counter near the printout of the family rules. If a child breaks a rule, I take them to the jar, tell them which rule they broke and how, and take one marshmallow out of their jar. Then we talk about how they can handle the situation correctly the next time. After supper, they can have whatever is left in their jar.
*Update: I have since changed the number of treats in their jar to 5 instead of 10. If they do something really nice without being asked (cleaning up, being kind to a sibling) they can earn a treat for their jar. At bedtime, if they haven't had any treats taken away, they can put an extra sticker on their nightime sticker chart (see below).
I found printable habit charts at Raising Arrows and printed off one for each of the two older children. The habit that we're working on right now for each one is learning to go to sleep at night instead of goofing off and keeping each other awake for hours while getting out of bed every 2 minutes to see if it's time to get up yet. If they go to sleep quietly and quickly the night before, they get a sticker on their chart in the morning. When the chart is full, they'll get to pick out a special prize. I have no idea what the prize will be yet, but I'm thinking something small from the dollar store or I'll reward them with some special time with me or Hubby.
*Overall update: These changes have been working well so far! Little Man is only 2 and hasn't quite got the concept of the nighttime sticker chart, but Princess has. When she lays down and goes right to sleep at night, it cuts his shenanigans short too. He copies everything she does so if her behavior improves, his automatically does too.
So what do you think? Any suggestions? I'd love to hear what works for your family!
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