Jennie and I were just talking about how difficult the kids have been lately – Luke has not been listening to one word I’ve said the last few days and after hearing Jen mention she was having similar issues with Cody I wonder if it’s just us?! Did that eclipse mess with no only the animals but also our kids?!
I have been battling with Luke for the past few days and by the end of the day I’m looking at my husband like “see what I have been dealing with ALL day?!” You just can make up the stuff these kids get into! Luke decided he was going to go into my room, turn the ceiling fan on high and throw his stuffed animals up into the fan, leaving my room covered in nasty dust from the fan. There was throwing dirt at the car….the NEW car and then piling the pillows from the couch all over the dirty dog beds (because there isn’t enough laundry to do) and then pursuing every bubble container we had only to dump them out all over the driveway. The list goes on and I feel like I’ve been running from one disaster with him to the next the past few days, which isn’t normal for us.
So yesterday, Julian and I decided to take a stand (because taking certain toys away, time out, etc. just weren’t working) so we officially CLOSED his play room. He woke up this morning and we had the gate up to his play room and we told him that because he wasn’t listening his play room was off limits for the morning. I’ve learned to be very clear with consequences and following through because he won’t learn from it otherwise. I’m also very aware that for his age the consequences have to be relevant, taking into account his short attention span. If I kept the play room closed for a day or longer he would most likely forget why it was off limits in the first place and only drive me even more crazy getting bored pretty quickly without his favorite toys. Giving him the morning showed that we meant business and it allowed him to have a short term goal to work towards – so he would actually learn from his poor choices of not listening. The deal was if he could go to music class later that morning and be a good listener he would be able to have his play room “unlocked” starting when we got home in the afternoon. If he couldn’t listen during music class it would remain closed the rest of the day. At this age, I think you have to allow them to be successful to learn and not over do it on punishments because it can go right over their heads and they’ll only think “Mom’s mad again” but not be able to tell you what they did wrong. I have to remember that these are teachable moments and our kids are supposed to test their boundaries – easier said than done!
Luke excelled yesterday and did great at music and when he got home he was able to have his play room back. He was grateful to have his toys back and lets face it – all those toys are a privilege! If it teaches him to appreciate what he has a little more and learn a valuable lesson I’m happy. It was also interesting to see his attitude change and he was voluntarily helping out with chores around the house without me asking him to do them. He was a joy to be around and it was so nice to have my usual Luke back!
And I must say, he was so wound up over the past few days that he must have been so exhausted that he just pooped himself out because while Julian and I were in the kitchen making dinner last night we looked over and found this…
Last thing we knew he was playing with a toy on their stairs and then minutes later, at 5:50pm with dinner in the oven he literally passed out asleep! I couldn’t believe he actually fell asleep while sitting on the stairs! We haven’t quite transitioned to no nap completely and this just proves it. This has got to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen him do and Julian and I cracked up for ages over this. No, we didn’t leave him like this…we moved him to the couch (without him waking up) for 20 minutes and then I woke him up, listened to him cry through tiredness for another 20 minutes and then he did finally go to bed at 8:00, a little later than his 7:00-7:30 usual bedtime.
So tell me – what has been the most creative consequence you’ve done with your kid(s) and how did they respond to it? I hear parents every day tell me creative ways they’ve gotten through to their kids. No, closing the playroom isn’t nearly as attention grabbing as putting some bullets through a laptop but it sure got Luke’s attention and he learned his lesson…job done.