Teaching Kindergarten for five years helped me understand just how important schedules and routines are for young children. I’m not the type that follows the schedule to the minute, it’s more like “ish time” but the routines, especially during transitions like meals and bedtime, and the order that we do everything in is pretty much set in stone. Everyone knows what to expect and when and it helps keep the chaos of our household minimal.
An example of our “Toddler Schedule”. Pictures help them follow along!
I know it makes me sound and feel old and boring, but we would not have a harmonious family if it weren’t for structure, consistency and rules. The kids know what is expected and we try our best to be consistent in our expectations and consequences. When they don’t follow the expectations, there are consequences and that is just a matter of fact. I try my best to keep the emotion out of the discipline and the choice on them while showing I love them. I learned a lot about the Love and Logic Method as an early childhood teacher and I believe this is the best and most kind way to bring structure and discipline to a classroom and to families while still bonding and nurturing the relationship.
We do a lot of assembly line style parenting! 4 bowls at snack time, 4 milks- ready to go and we even bathe them and have them brush teeth together. Sometimes it feels like we have quads!
1 Kindness First- No Hurting Each Other
2 No playing with the doors (a constant problem and tiny fingers)
3 Help with family jobs
4 Listen the first time
These cover almost everything and if they aren’t followed, they get an age appropriate time out (minute/year of age) or we will take away something fun (outside time, a show, books before bed, etc.) We try to save these consequences and use them sparingly. I’m lucky that time out is still so effective for my children but I don’t overuse it.
My Favorite Discipline Strategies:
Love And Logic
Dr. Phelan’s 1,2,3, Magic
I also love to give warnings before most transitions, “We’re going to clean up to go bye-bye in 2 minutes.” Or “Pretty soon, we’re going for a walk, does everyone have their shoes on?” This can really set kids up for success when they know what to expect with transitions.
What are your favorite ways to use positive discipline at home? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
I learned very early on, during my first year of teaching kindergarten, and I’ve never forgotten, how important follow through and consistency are with young kids. They are constantly testing you and that’s their job! They’re wired to see what they can do and what is unacceptable. Consistency is key- if one day you give a 4 minute time out or take away a privelage for certain behavior, then next day they should expect the same reaction. This should be across the board, every time! I know it’s hard to do this, I have trouble for sure! Sometimes I’m more tired or less patient and sometimes I’m feeling like I really don’t care but I know I have to at least try to be consistent.
This is so similar! If you give a warning with a possible consequence, “If you do this again, you’ll have to go inside and miss out.” They will sometimes do the thing again, sometimes to test you, sometimes just because it’s that fun... either way, you HAVE to follow through. I still have to remind myself of this constantly!
Another “teacher trick” I learned before I had kids of my own is whenever you don’t know what to do or how to keep children happy, just open a book or sing to them. It works, every time! I’ve had experiences where I wait in the car with all four while Adam ran into the store and two start crying and the other two are fighting and what saves the day? Singing! And Books! EVERY TIME! It’s the best cure, cheers everyone up, distracts and before you know it, Daddy’s back and we’re on the road again. I keep a stash of books and toys in the van for these times.
When I became pregnant with the second set of twins, I discovered our city’s local Jazz Music Radio Station which plays a nice combination of classic jazz and modern jazz. It was so soothing to me while I was pregnant that I didn’t change the station for two years! Now, when driving, I only listen to Jazz which is calming but also makes me feel two generations older than I am. I still have memories of my grandparents driving me as a child and they listened to exclusively Jazz in the car. Now, my kids even know how to request it on our Amazon device, “Alexa, play Jazz Music”. I love the way many jazz songs highlight different instruments and the kids and I can talk about the different instruments we hear, in the car or at home.
We use the Amazon unlimited music for 7.99/month. It’s awesome! We listen every day, they have everything you can think of and you can just tell your device what to play! “Alexa, play kid music by Lisa Loeb” or at nap time, “Alexa, play soft jazz.” I love that it is so easy to incorporate music into your daily life. Sometimes I think of a song I loved from a long time ago like “Lightning Crashes” or “There is So Much More” and since it popped in my head and I’m holding a baby, I can still play it, using voice command. I also love that it is completely Ad free and you can listen offline with unlimited skips. It even includes podcasts which is nice, too if you want to catch up on your favorite show. This is a nice way to catch up on the news or a favorite talk show without the unnecessary screen time. Click the link below to get Amazon Unlimited Music with a 30 day free trial. This is another thing that improves our life and in our mind is worth every penny!
Try Out Amazon Music Unlimited:
Kathleen, M.Ed.-mom of two sets of twins, educator, yoga instructor, nature enthusiast.