I am always on a quest to improve my parenting style and techniques. Recently I was at MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) meeting and we had a speaker who is professor of child psychology, Dr. Robert Currie. He spoke about children’s behavior and how it is all emotionally driven. For instance, when I child is playing and you tell him it’s time to go to bed and he says “but why do I have to go to bed?”! The professor was very funny in his acting out of this – and said, now look at my face. Little Johnny is not looking for a logical answer like, well it’s late and you need your sleep or any of the other dozen answers any parent would throw at him. He is looking for empathy and validation.
So, one of the things he went over was rewarding good behavior. Now I know this is something we should do, but it seems when they are all behaving and playing nicely…I don’t want interrupt and ruin it! Then, of course, after the good behavior time they are into the fighting and my acknowledging the good behavior is out the door. A lot of people at some really cute ideas on how they reward good behavior, dance, high fives, knuckle bump but at the time of the knuckle bump you say out a character name like “bugs bunny” and then after the knuckle bump act out the character.
Another suggestion that someone uses is using marbles. On good behavior days the child can earn 2 marbles a day, for bad behavior a marble is taken away and on Fridays, if their chores are kept up with all week long, they get an extra marble. When they fill up their marble jar they can then chose a prize. The child writes a list of “want” items – could be toys, board games, electronic games, a dinner of their choice, going out to eat, a playdate…whatever, within reason, is on their list. I actually did try this years ago with my oldest daughter Megan, and I don’t remember it working very well, but I figured we would give it another try. The twins are 4 so they may be on the young end, but I think they are old enough to know when they are following the rules and not following them.
Today, the kids made out their lists and then we went to the hobby store for beads and containers. It just so happens that today all of the kids, especially my dear little Anna, had really bad behavior – lot of arguing, sassyness, not listening…etc. So this evening, on the way home from “pizza night” at my sister and brother in laws, Megan asked about doing the marbles tonight – I told her that we should probably wait until tomorrow since no one would be earning a marble today.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a better “first” day for the marbles!