Monday, October 24, 2005

More on self-control

In a parenting class my husband and I attended we were introduced to “self-control hands”. This is a great technique for little one's, actually it works for older kids as well. They simply place their hands in their lap and hold them together. For many children this helps them to focus and it direct much of their energy and wiggliness to their hands. To introduce this, you might play a game of 'who can hold their hands together and not talk, the longest.' This is a fun game because it doesn't take long for someone to erupt into giggles. As your children become more adept at this, offer a prize for everyone who can have self-control hands and quiet mouths for 30 seconds, then 60 seconds and so on. My children (even my very busy, very wiggly, outspoken little girl) have mastered the three minute mark. In situations where I can see they are about to lose control, I have them practice self-control hands and it has saved us much trouble. Make sure and practice in calm times so that you can use it in turbulent ones.

Remember to praise, prase, praise! Children thrive on praise so point out specific moments when they have used self-control. For instance, “I saw that you were about to get mad when your friend cut in line but I was really proud of the way you used self-control.” Also be sure to praise them when they are about to touch something or do something they shouldn't and use self-control instead.
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Monday, October 10, 2005

Setting Expectations

Our family just got home from a trip to California. We drove a total of 4 days (there and back) and spent two days in San Diego and three more in Anaheim at Disneyland (which is the happiest place on earth). As any parent knows, family vactions can either be bliss or they can be the bane of your existence. One of the ways we prepared our kids for our vaction was to give them a list of expectations we had for them. For instance, "There will be no asking are we there yet? We are on an adventure and are to enjoy even the car ride." (loaded of course with new Leapster cartridges, books, crayons and even the occcasional movie) . "We will be kind to one another and stay in our own space with our hands to ourselves." " We will keep our voices quiet in the car so as not to upset the driver." It's so important to let you kids know ahead of time what you expect of them. I like to know what's expected of me and kids do to. All of these expectations need to be met with a "Yes, Mommy or Yes, Daddy". Sometimes you need to set daily expectations. Once we had spent a day in Disneyland we realized that each child needed different expectations. For Connor(7), "Keep your hands to yourself and don't frustrate your brother and sister." For Caileigh (4), "Stay with Mommy and Daddy, you don't want to become lost." and for Collin (4), " Do everything without whining and complaining, including rides that you haven't been on yet." Each child obeyed and I have to say we had a great time - including the drive. I would do again, soon! Well, not too soon, there's laundry to be done!

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