Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Boys

Cow-bee Holden?

'Take my picture with my bear, mommy.' - Evan

Monkey Memo

Photos from tonight right before bedtime. We had triplet boys -same age - over for a playdate this afternoon. I wish I had captured some photos of that too. At one point all the boys were jumping in the toddler beds.

I wasn't so pleased with them yesterday, there was no nap and they were little terrors in the afternoon. As triplet mom Audrey told me today, sometimes she looks at her boys and thinks, 'someone is about to get voted off the island'. Although her boys are completely charming, social and fun but are not climbers, they are still in their cribs and haven't tried to climb out yet. Oh, the injustice! Ours were climbing out by 18 months.

I re-read my parenting discipline books before bedtime and realized it was me who had fallen a bit off track.

Today I focused on these three things:

1) Being very 'attentive' - giving almost a play by play of each thing they do like 'you are building a tower, wow, it is so tall.' The Spirited Child book says that we ask too many questions and give too many directions like, 'do you want to build a tower?' and 'which is the red block?' so try simply narrating to let them know you are engaged and paying them attention. That way when you need to give directions they will be more apt to listen and respond. It sounds a bit awkward to state everything they are doing but I have been trying it off and on for the past few months and it is kind of surprising how well they respond and how pleased they are to have my undivided attention.

2) Lavishing them with praise whenever they were showing good behavior. I tried to praise each child at least 20 times today, probably much more. It feel like I normally praise them often but I had to stay on top of it to step it up and after a smattering of praises they were quick to cooperate.

Just during dinner I worked on praising each child 4 or 5 times, normally it is more like once or twice. 'Thanks for helping me today with xxx', 'You are eating your dinner, that's great!', 'You ate your veggies, you will be strong!', they would help me along too, 'Mom, I am eating with out spilling!' and I would repeat whatever they were sharing with me and proud of.

3) I stopped nagging and pleading for bad behavior, instead I focused on giving simple clear directions without all the reasoning added in, then a warning that they would have to go in time out if I got to '3' (counting 1-2-3). 1-2-3 Magic says too much talk goes over their head, they get negative attention from 'you guys are driving me crazy' speeches which only reinforces the bad behavior. The spirited child book adds that if you need to give a reason, give it first then the directive vs the other way around so they don't get distracted and forget what you want them to do. For example instead of 'Clean up your toys now because grandma is coming over soon' try 'Grandma is coming over soon, so clean up your toys now.'

We did have a couple of timeouts but they were a TON more cooperative and not seeking out bad behavior to push my buttons. Not that all our problems are solved but things went much smoother today. I'm sure naps helped too. It seems so simple but it does take some discipline of my own to keep it up and stay consistent. I want to get good reports from school!

PS Lily sometimes joins in the mayhem but generally she is like, 'Wheh! those boys are being naughty'. Later I am going to have to encourage her not to tattle tail but right now it is helping me stem disaster.


GrammaG said...

Staying ahead of four little ones can be so challenging. The method you are using sounds effective. I might need some flash cards when I come to remind me.
They are so cute. and they are not even two yet...soon, but not yet. Keep up the good work. I am proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what beautiful children! They are growing up so fast, we can't wait to get back to Austin before they forget us. Hugs, Grammy and PaPa

Anonymous said...

I am going to use your advice for Olivia. The pictures of the kids are precious! Love, Marisa