November 06, 2011
Changing Behavior. Part 1
Is there nagging, or whining, or temper tantrums in your home? Do you want them to stop? This week we are going to talk about what we can do to turn the behavior around.
Today it is all about the ONE-ON-ONE-TIME.
We have talked about his before, but now we are getting serious. :)
I can promise you that heeding this one suggestion will drastically change your child's behavior for the better.
Here is the GOAL: Spend 15 minutes of ONE-ON-ONE-TIME a day, with each of your children.
The Facts: Kids want and need attention. When they are not getting enough positive attention, they misbehave. Why? It gets them attention. SO, they figure, "my mom won't play a game of CandyLand with me, but, if I color on the walls with my crayons, then she will pay attention to me". It doesn't matter if it is negative attention. It is still attention. Toddlers act out and whine and throw tantrums. Older children withdraw and become distant.
When we give our children positive attention, they won't have the need to misbehavior to get us to notice them.
Plus, when we spend time connecting with our children it provides them with security. They feel safe in their relationships with you and with their place in the family.
Here are the Rules:
1. Give each child 15 minutes of ONE-ON-ONE-TIME everyday. Don't combine your kid's time. You want to focus on each child individually.
2. This is uninterrupted time. That means, turn off the TV, get off the computer and no cell phones. Refrain from playing CandyLand while you are checking your email on your phone (not that I would know anything about that).
3. Let your children choose the activities. Ask your kids what they want to do. This gives them a choice. It makes them feel in-charge and that they have some control. This is really important to making this ONE-ON-ONE-TIME work. It we tell them what they will do, they feel forced.
Yesterday I was spending time with our three year old. The baby was sleeping and the older kids were out. She wanted to play Memory. I kept thinking about how behind I was on the laundry. Until I sat down to play. I laid on the floor, and laughed harder than I have in months. I forgot about the laundry and every other worry or care I had. Instead, I noticed the sparkle in our daughter's eyes. I realized what a great memory she has, and we talked about how excited she is about "being big like her sister". And when we finished, she gave me a hug and kiss and said "thanks mom, that was more fun than the park".
Help your child make a list of the things they would like to do during their ONE-ON-ONE-TIME. That way when it is time to be together, you can refer to the list and not waste any time having fun.
4. Consider this more important than the household chores. It is so easy to let our household duties get in the way of our time with our kids. We feel those things have to be done now, and that we can get to our kids later, or tomorrow, or when they are older. Fact of the matter is, nothing is more important than our children. Mopping the floor can wait 15 minutes. Sit down and play. Or else our kids will be 18 and moving out and we will have regrets that we can't do anything about.
5. Consistency is key. This is not just a one time thing. It needs to happen everyday, and not just for a week. Make a commitment and make it happen.
I know what you are thinking, "I am so busy, how am I going to find time to do this"?
First, make better use of your time. Are there things that you and your child already do, that you can make more meaningful? You have to put your children to bed, instead of rushing through the bedtime routine, take each child up separately and spend 15 minutes laughing and reading and talking. Our kids have to take baths. Instead of rushing them through, why not roll up our sleeves and play with them.
I am not very good at this. By the end of the day I am tired, and I feel I have a million things I can "finally do" now that the kids are down. I tend to rush our kids into bed. Not my husband. He plays hide and seek, reads extra stories, laughs and wrestles and plays. I need to be better and follow his example.
In our house, I was finding it hard to find ONE-ON-ONE-TIME with our son. But...he gets up before the other kids. So, I use that quiet time to sit and talk to him over breakfast, just the two of us. We play transformers, look up answers to his science questions, sometimes he just wants me to sit and listen to him, basically we do whatever he wants before the rest of the kids need to be woken up. This time already existed, we just make better use of it now.
Second, carve time out from other activities, and Tame Technology. No matter how busy we think we are, we can find a few extra minutes in our day for our kids. If, after looking at our schedule, we honestly can't find the time, then we need to cut back and do less. Look at our schedule, where do we waste time, where do we have extra time? Do we spend an hour a day on the computer, on Facebook? Cut back to 30 minutes and give that time to our kids.
The truth is, if we want ONE-ON-ONE-TIME to happen, we will make it happen. We will take time from other activities and give it to our children.
ONE-ON-ONE-TIME will make us happier moms also. We will be less stressed because our children will be better behaved. We will spend less time disciplining and more time enjoying our children. We will laugh more, be more relaxed and actually enjoy being moms. We will feel more fulfilled because we have spent our time connecting with our children, and we will find that magically we have more time to do all the other things on our To-do lists.
Yes, this time is not just for our kids. It is for us also.
DO YOU THINK YOU CAN DO THIS?
WHAT MAKES IT HARD TO FIND TIME TO BE WITH OUR KIDS?