In a Nutshell: Sometimes all it takes is a small change to make a big difference!
Rewind to last Sunday. My three-year-old was sitting in time-out for the fourth time that day. I was sick with a really nasty cold, my hubby was out of town, and I was getting so frustrated with my little one’s disobedience and general naughtiness. He isn’t a real time-out kid and this level of misbehavior wasn’t like him. So, I let myself be frustrated for awhile, and then sat down to figure out a plan. First, I ate the candy bar I had stashed away for just such emotional emergencies as this. Then, I started to strategize instead of whine. Here’s our journey this week.
Sunday: Most of Brigham’s problems seem to have to do with him just having too much energy and nowhere to put it. Since I have been so sick all week we haven’t been out of the house much, and he is probably getting stir-crazy. He also is missing his dad, his wrestling buddy. This problem seems more like a genuine need not being met, instead of a willful disobedience issue. I will still be consistent with time-outs when he breaks rules or hurts people, but I will increase crazy, active play at least twice a day. If his behavior doesn’t improve by the end of the week, I’ll implement another consequence system.
Thursday: Even though I expected good results, I have been amazed at the change in our relationship this week! I haven’t done anything different other than adding about 30 minutes of crazy, active, child-focused play time with him all by himself. We haven’t had a time-out since Wednesday because he hasn’t needed one. He hasn’t hit anyone since Monday, and he’s being gentle with the cat. The biggest surprise for me this week is that I have had more kisses from him than I have ever had. And while he has said, “I love you” before, last night he pulled me close to his face, squeezed me (painfully :)) tight, and said, “I love you so much, Mommy!” What an unexpected and wonderful side-effect to this experiment. My little guy just needed a little more play time with me, and a more appropriate outlet for all that fabulous energy before it spilled over into total mischief. And you know what? I think his mom needed a little more play time, too.
Is it always this easy? Usually not! But there are probably other “big” problems in our families that are best solved with little solutions.
Try it Today: Don’t pull your hair out…pull your pencil out! Get a notebook and write down the specific problems you see in your family. Analyze why it may be happening. Then brainstorm about solutions to try. Think of changing your own behavior, changing routines, increasing positive time together, implementing reward systems, or being more consistent with consequences. Pick the one that feels right. Then try it! Keep track of what happens to the problem behavior. Does it improve? If not, then try something else. Good Luck!
Does anyone have a story to share about how a little change made a big difference? Comment below and share!