As a previous elementary school teacher and mother of four children, I am no stranger to misbehavior or cries for attention. My third-born has been testing my patience for the last 20 months. I have lost my cool with her more times than I care to count and attempted multiple methods to help her to not only learn how to reign in her outbursts but also to prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some of the methods we have used to help:
The Gift of Time
I instituted one-on-one mommy/daddy/daughter dates. Each month our girls opened an envelope with a destination/activity inside they could choose to do solo with either mommy or daughter. As a family with four children, this allowed our daughters to have that precious one-on-one time with a parent of their choice. Bonus: they got a double date with mommy and daddy during the month of their birthday!
Homemade Photo Books
From thunderstorms to going-to-school jitters to daily routines and even overcoming a fear of dogs, I have created homemade photo book with each of my girls. It’s very simple to do:
- Print photos of you, your child/and/or subject material (i.e. school building, dogs, etc.)
- Get 4 or 5 pieces of paper- light colors can make it more inviting
- Sit down with your child to write the book together, making it up as you go! Allow them to decorate so they feel they are a part of the book
- Read and reread the book together. You will find this becomes one of their favorites because they get to see themselves in a book!
I Caught You Making a Good Choice!
I’ve tried the three strikes and you lose your treat method but only because I was desperate and exhausted. It never felt good to induce fear in my children so I decided to go for the positive reinforcement route. My second-born came home with a new pair of frozen jammies that my third-born dripped with envy for. I capitalized on her life-dependent need for those jammies and created a sticker chart for her. Every time I caught her either making a good choice (sharing) or taking deep breaths to breathe her anger out rather than lashing out with her fists or her voice, she receives a sticker. Once she fills the chart, she gets those jammies! She has since earned more stickers than this picture and I have to admit that the pride she feels when I “catch her”, is worth 1,000 Elsa jammies!
Side note: I was careful of my verbiage- instead of “I caught you being good” which assumes she is otherwise bad (let’s be real- her behavior is at times, ATROCIOUS) I used the phrase “I caught you making a good choice!”. Her behavior choices are frequently bad- but it doesn’t mean she is 🙂
Here’s to hoping a combination of these three things help!