Almost every time we go out, I get compliments about how well-behaved my kids are.
It’s not a coincidence. They didn’t just come that way. I have a secret.
🤫 And I am willing to share that secret with you!
You ready for it?
🤫❗️ I follow through with consequences. ❗️🤫
So many times I hear mommas say, “Olivia, you better stop that!” But then… Olivia doesn’t stop. And there’s no consequence for not listening to her mom.
Or a momma who says, “Megan, if you hit him again, you’re going to your room.” And then Megan hits him, and guess what? She doesn’t go to her room.
Kids are sneaky.
They are testing you.
They WANT you to follow up with the consequences you set because they WANT to know you can be trusted to do what you’ll say you’ll do.
When you say you’ll play with them? Play with them. It helps them trust you.
When you say you’ll take their favorite blanket away if they come out of their room at bedtime again? Take it away. It helps them trust you.
When you say you’ll go to the park after nap time? Go to the park after nap time. It helps them trust you.
When you say they won’t get candy if they don’t clean up the playroom? Don’t give them candy if they don’t clean up the playroom. It helps them trust you.
And no matter how hard they cry about it, don’t give in.
Because they’ll learn that all they have to do is cry, and you’ll give in.
They’ll learn that you threaten consequences, you follow up, but then you cave if they cry hard and long enough.
I’m not gonna pretend like it’s easy to do this.
It takes enormous amounts of energy in the moment.
It’s hard to hear your beautiful little girl cry about her favorite blanket, and you know it’s gonna be a long night tonight without it… but guess what’s gonna happen tomorrow night, and the rest of the nights following? When you say there will be a consequence for her actions? She’ll believe you. She’ll listen. She won’t come out of her room.
I learned this day after day after day after day as a preschool and kindergarten teacher, and with my own kids, I’m SUPER grateful for all the practice I had on other people’s cute kiddos, because it’s WAY harder with my own.
But I know it works.
Follow through with your consequences. It helps your kiddos trust you. And a beautiful relationship of love, trust, and listening comes as a result.
• Make sure to think things through BEFORE threatening. Don’t wait until the point of anger because you want to make sure you’re ACTUALLY ready to commit to that consequence (things like: “You will be grounded from the TV for a month if you don’t help clean up the playroom!” 🥵 Are you sure about that one momma? That will most likely hurt YOU more than them! A 5-minute time-out would do just fine. Etc.) For ideas for consequences check this out.
• Try to make the “punishment fit the crime.” If your child is hitting with a specific toy, take the toy away. If your child is distracted by an iPad game instead of cleaning up, take the iPad away. If your child won’t share the bear, take the bear away so no one can play with it. Etc.
• Let kids be kids. Don’t fight EVERY battle. This should not turn into a “My way or the highway!” situation. Sometimes I let my kids hide in the clothing racks, versus insist that they hold on to my cart, because… they can! They’re not hurting anyone, no one is nearby to be bothered, and it’s okay! I choose which battles to fight, and when I choose to insist on something, I follow through with that choice.
• Most importantly: GIVE YOURSELF GRACE as you practice this new skill. It IS a skill! And it will be improved upon as you keep practicing! Keep practicing. And pretty soon? You will be told more often than not how well-behaved YOUR kiddos are.
Now you have my secret. 🤫
️ Go try it out! And GOOD LUCK BEAUTIFUL MOMMA!