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.



  1. This is so true! When my dd acts up I know she needs more one on one time. I always did daddy/ dd or mommy dates, and it worked wonders! I will be doing the 15 min a day thing from now on. Thanks.

  2. I appreciate your reminder. Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. What great advice. I know I seriously lack in this area and I've even talked to my husband about us trying to give our 5 boys better quality time, but now I WILL make it happen. I will give them each their own 15 minutes a day. And not beat myself up if I miss a day or two. :)

  4. Andrea, our kids love their daddy and mommy dates. They are rejuvenating. For them, and for us.

  5. Hi Suzanne, Glad the reminder was helpful. I know I have to remind myself everyday. It is so easy for me to get caught up with all the other demands of life.

  6. Allen Family,
    I love what you said about not beating ourselves up about it. So important to remember as moms. We work to do the best we can. There is not time in our day to beat ourselves up. We have plenty of other things we need to do. :)

  7. A perfect post for me today! You have a wonderful way of reminding me what I need to do without making me feel bad that I'm not already doing it. I always come away motivated. Thank you!

  8. Gosh you always know exactly what I need. There isn't necessarily a change in behavior that we need around here, but this is something we really need. I spend so much time entertaining our 19 month old that our older two sometimes get forgotten. I've had two boys obsessed with Transformers for going on 3 years now and I get soo tired of playing Transformers. But they never do. I definitely, absolutely have this time in my day, and my kids really need it. Thanks for the reminder, friend. I just put a sign on the fridge that says "O-O-O" to remind me.

  9. I think school makes it hard for me to find time with my kids. It seems like once school my kids are home it is homework, dinner and bedtime. But I do need to be better at this - 15 minutes seems like a great goal. Small and simple things, right?

  10. For me it's the motivation I think. I know how important it is, I see the change in behavior when I do this, I feel all the guilt at the end of the day when i dont, yet I can't seem to change, and gather the motivation I need to change it! It's beyond frustrating. It's something I struggle with DAILY.

    I'm at a loss on how to find that push, drive I need.

  11. Emily, Amen to the tired of the same game. The only way I can get through it, is by thinking about how much it means to them. And even then, it can be soooo hard. I love the reminder you put on the fridge. Love it. I only wish I was more photo shop, graphic design savvy and I would make a printable for everyone that they could print off and put on their own fridges. Until then, I am off to write O-O-O on my own piece of paper.

  12. Jennifer, so true. I feel like once the kids get back in school, it is nearly impossible to find time. We barely get dinner and homework and piano practice in before bed. I have to make the things we already do, like bed time and bath time, individual and special. Small and simple, baby steps. Even 5 minutes is better than nothing.

  13. Oh Rach, I think you expressed how we all feel as moms at different times. There are so many things running through our minds. So many responsibilities, especially as our families grow. Finding the motivation can seem impossible.
    There are two things that help me. The first is to think about things from my child's point of view. When I look into their eyes and think, how will it make them feel if I say "yes" and play. That gives me the motivation to put everything down and play.
    The second thing that really helps, "Just Do It". But for me, this means really do it, all the way. Not with my cell phone around, or the computer near by. When I force myself, with in about 5 minutes I am laughing, I can feel my creative mommy juices flowing, and start to truly enjoy myself. But I have to force myself first, and then, I realize that being a mom should be fun, and filled with love and laughter.

    Don't know if it helps. But it is sort of like the saying about prayer. "Pray until you feel like praying". or, "Fake it until you make it".

  14. Heather - these are such darling ideas! This is the first time I've seen your blog, but your mom told me it was worth reading! It was fun seeing you and your 2 little ones in Provo, and wished we could have seen your older 2 as well.
    much love! Delynn

  15. GREAT advice!! So nice to meet you over the weekend. Do your nails still look pretty? :)

  16. I just found your blog, and am so glad I did! I love your wonderful insights and reminders to moms! I wanted to comment on something I have learned. In several of your posts you have commented that your husband is more laid back at bedtime, more fun, and that you need to be more like him. We have the same issue in our family. By the end of the day, I'm exhausted, and I am anxious for the house to be quiet. I used to feel bad about that, like I was slacking by making my hubby do all the "fun" stuff at bedtime. BUT, I realized that bedtime is the perfect time for my son and my husband to have THEIR time! My husband doesn't feel pressured by things he needs to get done, and there are no real expectations of my son, so they can both just relax! I have the energy to be "fun" earlier in the day, and THAT'S OKAY! My husband is more "fun" at bedtime, so I hand it over to him, and THAT'S OKAY! I just felt very uplifted by a lot of what I have read on your blog, and wanted to share an uplifting thought of my own.

  17. I also just found your blog, and appreciate the simplistic advice that you are giving. Funny enough, I found your blog through Pinterest, which, in so many ways encourages you to be the greatest at everything in your life at all times; meaning, your house is perfectly decorated, the parties you throw are epic events, your children are the most well-behaved, smartest little people on the planet. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest as much as the next mom, but my house is cluttered with kid-stuff, my parties are fun, but certainly not epic and my kids are good kids, but not always perfectly behaved and have tons to learn. Just like me. Thank you for the reminder to just let them be kids and have a mom (and dad) who loves them everyday, for everything they are and everything they are trying to be. :)

  18. Such simple things that make such a big difference to our children. Thank you for this blog. I just wrote 15 minutes down on a post it note and put it up in the kitchen so I will see it every day and remember to do so. I to often race through the bedtime routine just to get to that "quiet time" I look forward to daily. I am excited to make my list with the kids and spend that time with them daily.

  19. This really hit home for me-

    A few days ago my son started this "naughty" behaviour. Throwing things, biting, kicking his legs about. At 10 months old I thought surely he is not in the "terrible toddler stage" yet! There was so much attitude and frustration in his face and I was at wits end. After texting hubby to come home "on time" from work and hopping in the shower to take a breather, I asked my facebook friends for advice. I was shocked by the response most were either bite him back or give him a smack only one out of all the responses said "He will grow out of it" But even that was not the conclusion I came to.

    After a night of crying to my husband I realized that my Sons behavior was a direct reflection of my behavior. So before I went to bed that night I stayed up and got EVERYTHING that I would normally get done during the day done. So all my uni work, house work, ironing, folding everything. It was late, I was buggered so I went to sleep and woke up the following morning with nothing to do but focus on my son.

    He was amazing. Not one tantrum, Not one bite, Not one moment of cranky pants screaming. He was calm, and loving and we could communicate (as best as you can with a baby!) I realized that during the day when I am trying to get things done I am pushing him away. He can't communicate that he wants me to play with him, or to just hold him or to talk with him (He likes it when I talk to him and he will try to talk back).

    So now I (although difficult) limit myself to only being on the computer or doing uni readings to when he is asleep or occupied. I involved him in the house work and so far he has really loved having more mummy time!

    Sometimes it is easy to blame the children for the behavior or think they need discipline when sometimes it's actually the adult behavior that needs discipline :)

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