Friday, March 5, 2010

Love and Logic: Wrapping it up

I finished the 4th class this week, so I pretty much know everything there is to know about disciplining toddlers.

Oh, wait.

That's not how it works.

I'm pretty sure I just have a few new tools in my toolbox and now I have to start implementing them in my own home. OH SO HARD.

Anyway - here are some of the highlights of the rest of the class:

All people, children and adults, crave control. (And I probably crave it more than most). When kids feel powerless, they act out. The more control you can give your child, the fewer power struggles you will have. So, get in the habit of giving them LOTS of choices. All the time. Obviously, only give options that you like. Give the choices before they start to resist. If you do it after, you are rewarding their resistant behavior. If they don't choose in 10 seconds, you choose for them (and even choose the thing you think they like less to encourage them to choose promptly next time). And, on those occasions where they can't choose, you can say "You got to make a lot of decisions today. This time it is my turn. Thanks for understanding."

They also talked about an interesting idea to avoid bedtime drama. I think it is aimed more at school-age children, but they say to call it 'bedroom time' and not 'bed time'. Your child has to be in their bedroom at a certain time. As long as the parents don't see or hear the child, they can do whatever they want in their room and go to sleep whenever they want. The kicker, though, is that they have to get up at the established time - 6:30am or whatever you choose to start your day. After just a night or two of staying up super late, they will figure out sleeping on their own.

You should model things you want your child to do with great joy! Eat your vegetables, brush your teeth, clean your room ... whatever. You don't specifically draw their attention to what you are doing, but let them see how happy it makes you. You can also 'narrate' the activity: "It feels so good to pick up toys because then the house is clean!"

We didn't talk much about potty training because most of the parents had little kids, but there were a few nuggets I thought I should tuck away. These aren't necessarily Love and Logic, but advice from our instructors. One, potty training shouldn't be stressful. If it is, you started too early. Give it a break and try it again. Two, more harm is done from potty training too early than waiting. And three, when your child indicates to you that they are ready, have a grandparent or aunt/uncle or friend call the child and say, "I hear you are going to be sitting on the potty. Good for you! I wanted to let you know that sometimes you might not make it to the potty and you might have an accident. It's OK. That is part of how you learn to be a big kid." (or something along those lines). The idea is that the parents are usually so excited and super positive around their child when talking about the potty, that the first time the child has an accident they might be traumatized or feel like they let you down. This way, they know it isn't a big deal.

These guys are big on enforceable statements ... using "I will" statements instead of "You will" statements. Like, instead of saying "You will clean up your room right now!", you can say "I take kids to the park who clean their rooms".
- I help children who aren't whining
- I will listen when your words sound like mine
- I will be leaving in 5 minutes. Will you be wearing your clothes or carrying them in a bag?
- I do things for kids who say please and thank you

It takes a little mind shift to address your kids in this way, but the power lies in the fact that you are eliminating the opportunity for a power struggle. Because you are describing your own actions / behavior, you call the shots.

If you live in the Kansas City area, there is a Love and Logic parenting class at Shawnee Mission Medical Center that starts April 11th - you can get info through their website.

So, how about, "I will get cookies for moms who complete parenting classes?"

Done and done.


Bets said...

Thanks for all the info. I guess I've actually been using a lot more of this in my classroom than I thought I was.
"I will wait to start my lesson until everyone is sitting like _____".
I model good behaviors and praise those that are doing good things instead of picking on those that aren't.
I give choices & then choose for them when they stall or try to wait me out.
Congrats on finishing your class!

Marie Hooker said...

I use lots of this in my classroom, too, and am starting to use it with P more. Choices all the time! My favorite thing on this post was " I will be leaving in 5 minutes. Will you be wearing your clothes or carrying them in a bag?" It made me giggle. I said something similar to P the other day when trying to leave daycare and had to leave with him over my shoulder while carrying his shoes and coat because he refused to put them on. AWESOME!