When teaching elementary school, the word that was always running through my head was “consistency.” I had to be consistent with those kids no matter what; and in every aspect. I knew that if I wasn’t consistent, the kids would never respect me and know that “I mean what I say.”
Now that I have a toddler, I find that I need to be even more consistent than I was in the classroom. When I tell my son that he can’t do something, I have to make sure to not let him do it every time he tries. After a few times of me stopping him and finding something else to do, he has learned that I mean business and he needs to play with something else. This also worked very well when I started putting him in time out. My friends often say “my child won’t stay in timeout.” I kept putting him back in the spot every time he crawled out. I have to stay and monitor time out, but he now sits in it for the full minute (and he’s not very happy about it). He knows that if he doesn’t listen to mommy, or if he doesn’t use nice hands, he will go to time out. It’s great to see him about to hit me, and then suddenly stops and shows me nice hands (by rubbing my face).
One of the hardest things to do is to not give in when he really wants something. For example, if he wants a cookie right before dinner, I try and give him some cheese or an apple, and that just ticks him off! But eventually (hopefully) he will know that cookies are not an option before dinner. (We’re still working on this feat, and I tend to have a very upset toddler around 4 pm everyday). If I give in just once, he will know that I don’t mean what I say, and I will continue to be tested. I know that sometimes it is just easier to keep saying “no” when my child is doing something that isn’t the best choice. But continuing to say “no” and not doing anything about it will teach my child that “no” means nothing and he will disregard it. It takes so much more effort to get up, stop the behavior, and redirect. But in the long run, the consistency will pay off and my son will know exactly what is expected of him.
Written by Melanie Chiappini from Mom Made Easy.
I’m currently a stay at home mom and LOVING it! My son AJ is 17 months old and always on the move. Before my husband and I started our family, I taught kindergarten and first grade for 8 years and have a current Arizona early childhood education certificate. I love spending time with my family and finding new activities to participate in.
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