I hope you had some fun trying out Day One’s task of keeping quiet and moving into action when you made a request of your young child. How did that go? Did you find it difficult not to remind or negotiate or compromise with your child when they put up defiance? Or did your child actually listen to your request even though it was nonverbal? Be sure to check in by making comments each day where I can respond to your experience.
Okay, so here we are on Day Two of our goal to stop yelling. I’ve said it before and I will say it again and again.
Young children will behave best when they have rhythm, routine, structure, and rituals in place.
If you have a child who behaves well at preschool for his teachers but does not behave as well at home – it may have to do with lack of routine at home.
School provides predictability for children and they thrive on it. They know what comes next and that creates a sense of security and calm for a child.
Now, you may think that I am suggesting that you run your home like a preschool, (i.e. 7am breakfast, 9am books, 9:15 potty break, 9:30 art project, 9:50 outdoor play, etc). No, no, no. Who could do that, right? That’s completely unrealistic for us.
What can be realistic is a general rhythm for days we can fully control (days we don’t have our in-laws in town, or days we don’t have to wait at the driver’s license office for 2 hours, etc). I’m sure that 1/2 your week is made of days that could run smoother if you planned ahead.
Create more predictability for your kids. Jot down your own daily rhythm.
- What can you make more predictable?
- You will yell less if you feel more organized.
- Can you shop on a Sunday evening by yourself while your husband or your mom watches the kids for you?
- Or what about creating an indoor space that has less toys and clutter for the children to play?
Children behave better when their blood sugar is kept in-check. So, if nothing else, start putting in place predictable time for them to refuel…
- a morning snack (like raisins, granola, or some fruit),
- a regular lunch time,
- an afternoon snack (make sure it includes protein like yogurt, or cheese, or peanut butter, or beans),
- and a regular family dinner (it’s okay if the kids eat lighter because of their high-protein afternoon snack).
A predictable bedtime routine is also another area to improve upon. For example,…
- after dinner it’s bath time around our house,
- then it’s time to get into jammies,
- brush teeth,
- and kisses & hugs
- – lights out
It’s the same for us every night – even most weekends and holidays (there are always exceptions, but really, we strive to keep to the predictable because we enjoy our children and they enjoy us when we do).
Sure, we got the initial refusal to get into the bath or brush teeth. What did we do? We started the water running and began helping the kiddos out of their clothes, got the toothbrushes ready (I remember lifting my little guy up onto the sink with gentleness dipping him in my arms with a smile on my face and brushing his teeth for him – without anger or aggression) – maybe in a silly way or by racing them to the bathroom or telling them to get their favorite water toy or simply just saying, “bath time” – no negotiation, no argument, it’s just going to be done. We’re confident and sure of what comes next so that they are too.
Okay, mama. I want to hear from you. What part of the day needs more predictability? What is your plan to make it that way? You can do this!