Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gift of Discipline Workshop: Week 7

I was hoping today's topic was going to be sleep, but it was strategies. Then someone said "oh, we've already done sleep." I almost cried. But we haven't, I know, because I haven't missed a week and I've been waiting for the sleep topic. Just in case, I kept asking..."so...how would I use this strategy to get my son to sleep?"

Most of the things we talked about had been covered in other sessions: Time-in and time-out, the difference between punishment and discipline, etc. We were offered a concise list of strategies that I shall bestow upon you (examples are mine):

-Prevention. My entire purpose as a parent is often devoted to preventing meltdowns. Of course you're supposed to make sure your child isn't hungry, or over-tired (so it would be nice if they would ever get to the sleep topic).

-Redirection/distraction. When William is mad and lies down on the floor, I like to sing the sleeping bunnies song*. 80% of the time, when I get to "Wake up little bunnies" he will hop, hop, hop, as if that was the whole reason he was lying there.

-Natural consequences/logical consequences. Natural consequences are just what happens if you don't intervene (you get cold if you don't wear your coat), logical consequences make sense, but you still have to invent them. Like if he throws his food, he has to stay sitting in his high chair until I clean everything up.

-Time-in we talked about before.

- Either/or. Either you stop throwing those blocks, or I will take them away. I love giving my son choices, it totally works (sometimes). I'm all set to take his blocks away and suddenly he says "Oh, okay" and starts playing properly. Things do get through, somehow.

-Polite request. You're supposed to do this first, and it's amazing how easy it is to forget.

-Remove possession. I like to do this in combination with the either/or method.

-Do-over. Can't say I even did this, but the example they gave is if a kid won't hang their coat, you make them put their coat and boots back on, go out the door, and come in again. I just think that's brilliant. (I would need to use it on myself)

-When..Then. "After I change your diaper, then you can come back and play with your drum." It seems obvious, but somehow it works. I think my son still thinks that things disappear if he's away from them for five seconds.

-Tone of voice. Be calm...be nice.

-Eye contact. They say that boys in particular are bad at eye-contact and one shouldn't expect it from them at a young age. That may be true, but William is very good at using it as a persuasion technique. He does everything he can to get at my level, climbs on my chair, insists I pick him up. Then gets right in my face, noses touching, sticky toddler breath. "Mommy apple."

-Delay or deny privilege. I like to use this as one of my final resorts, as it may petentially cause a meltdown. (And I'm all about prevention, remember?)

-I-message. All this means is that you give a sentence about how you feel. "I feel frusterated when you won't go to sleep", "I feel happy when you help me pick up your toys". I do this, and it rarely works, but I'm told that it's good to teach children about feelings anyway.

*See the sleeping bunnies, sleep 'till nearly noon.
Shall we wake them with our merry tune?
Oh so still, are they ill?
Wake up, little bunnies and hop hop hop.
Hop hop hop!
Hop hop hop!

1 comment:

tshsmom said...

It's a good thing they give you several different options. It seems that the same thing never works for both kids.

Our daughter was always a social butterfly, so grounding her worked quite well. It killed her when she couldn't spend time with her friends.

With our son, it was money. We started giving him an allowance at age 3. Good behavior and age-appropriate chores earned him $.25 per chore/behavior. He couldn't get a treat at the store unless he had enough money. This also prevented meltdowns at the store. He always knew if he had enough money to buy a treat, so he wouldn't beg if his jar wasn't full.

"Tone of voice" This one was so important with our Tourettes kid. He had severe meltdowns as a toddler and yelling at him would only escalate the situation. Walking away from his tantrums and ignoring him also worked quite well.
"Remove possession"LOL, I could always tell how tough a morning my hubby had with our son, when he was a toddler, by the number of toys that were on the opposite side of the baby gate when I got home from work. If most of the toys were on the same side as the kid, they had a good day. ;)

I think the main thing is consistency. Kids are a lot more secure, and well-behaved, when they know there are consequences for their actions. It's just a matter of finding out what "clicks" with each child. It sounds like you've already found things that "click" with your son.

Hang in there. We always wind up learning just as much as our kids do. ;)

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