Picture this when your parenting …
You are just happy to have made it to the car … out the door for the morning school-run. Ringing in your head is your mother’s voice. The one you heard when you were your kids’ ages. “Don’t forget your lunch!” … “Have you got your jumper/books/bag” … “Brush your teeth, you need to be nice to be near!”
You wonder, “How did I get to this? Isn’t there a better way than being a nag? What will they do when they don’t have me to think for them? How can things be simpler when it comes to exploring discipline with children?
This all started around the getting out to door to kindergarten and play group stage. You thought to yourself even then, “Do I really want to do this every day for the next 13 years?”
OK, time for a ‘Getting out the door for school’ routine. What are the essential items for the tick list? It doesn’t matter what order these things happen in generally although cleaning teeth after breakfast usually helps. So here goes. Here’s the list with words and pictures. Clothes. Hair and brush. Breakfast. Clean teeth. Bag packed. Optional coat/hat. Shoes.
You’re thinking, “I’m starting to sound like my parent … do I really want to nag kids out the door for the next 13 years?”
When we discipline children it helps if the conversation is calm and quiet.
Right. Time to sit down after school in a calm, yummy place; no distractions and explain … Wouldn’t it be nice to leave the house in the morning without all the yelling. Everyone, especially the one who is meant to be the grownup, NOT being all grumpy and unhappy. Let’s try an experiment. Let’s have a list of the things that we each need to do by the time the big hand is on the 6. It even has a red sticker on the clock next to the 6. We are leaving when the big hand is on the 8. (The one with the yellow sticker). Ready on the red sticker … trying to be helpful to anyone who’s struggling … leaving on the yellow sticker. OK. Let’s go and have a walk through tonight after dinner and check to see if we have understood the words and the pictures. No? Change the picture? Sure. You find one in a magazine and we’ll stick that one there instead of my really bad drawing:)
WOW! Those photos we printed off make a great ‘What’s next’ list!
Learning new skills sometimes needs a little encouragement.
Let’s talk about a reward. That’s 6 stars/ticks on the chart in one morning without being asked to do any of the tasks … all done and ready before the big hand is on the 6. OK, the first morning with 6 stars and no reminders … you can buy your school lunch. Then two 6 star mornings in a row … money to buy a school lunch. Then four 6 star mornings in a row … money to buy a school lunch. If that’s not a treat, you can save up and choose a treat that costs the same amount of money. Bonus starts if you are all ready and can help someone else with their list. LOVE LOVE LOVE helpfulness!!
After two weeks the rewards will be over and it will just be normal expected behaviour. What I would like to see in 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years and even 20 years is someone who is able to think for themselves to get out the door on time. OK? Let’s give it a try? Any questions?
Note to self! There’s going to be questions … better to be ready for a few of them.
Yes, it’s OK to ask me for help. Daddy would love to help you!
Hehe … yep, one of the best ways to help you is to just say are two words … the two words are, “What’s next?” When you hear those two words from me (or if you say them to yourself out loud or just think them) … you can go to the chart and see what’s next.
How long do we keep doing it?? It’s going to be like this … we are going to practice for a week with lots of encouragement and see how we go. After 2 weeks we’ll see if it’s working.
Are their good consequences? Apart from everyone being a whole lot happier and calmer in the morning (Whoo hoo!!!) let’s say we use the star chart and build towards a treat or a privilege.
What if you stuff it up? Hmmm, well, no stars or treats for a start … and after two weeks there will be some bad consequences for not getting this routine right 2 mornings in a row. We’ll work on it, talk about it and agree on what those bad consequences are together … as a way of reminding us about choosing the helpful routine.
Yes, it’s OK if you’re sick and have to stay in bed. You don’t have to do the things on the ‘leaving the house’ list on those mornings. We’ll be working on a different list … Get the bucket. Get the towels. Back to bed.
OK then? … “What’s next?”