There’s this super awesome, amazingly cool app called “If This, Then That” or “IFTTT” that allows you to use conditional statements to link the different programs that you use to accomplish more in less time. By setting different Recipes with Triggers and Actions, you can prompt your programs to complete tasks that you’d otherwise be doing manually. A great example from the company’s About section on the website links Instagram and Dropbox (“If I post a picture to Instagram, then save a copy in Dropbox.”).
All geeked out techy stuff aside, it occurred to me the other day that I use IFTTT in my purposeful parenting. With a slight twist of course, although I’d love nothing more than to somehow miraculously program my children to perform certain activities via certain triggers. Wait, maybe I did do that in Singy Songy Mama? Anyways, I find myself constantly saying “If this…then that….”
“If you put your shoes on, then you can go play outside.”
“If you put your toys away, then you can come in the kitchen for a snack.”
“If you apologize to your brother, you can come join us for the next round of the game.”
You get the picture. The point here is active, cooperative communication. This age has been a fun (translation: INSANE!) one for us with all the challenges of heightened independence, attitudes galore and temper tantrums. Beyond all the “bad,” there’s a lot of good! That same independence can be a lifesaver in hectic moments, they are talking up a storm and I actually understand their needs, and…they are starting to grasp basic logic.
I’m not talking about bribes. Although, let’s be honest, who hasn’t thrown a “If you sit quietly here, then you will get a piece of candy when we’re done.” once in awhile. I’m talking about the positive reinforcement and logic that one good activity/decision results in another good activity/experience. I’m working hard to develop the mindset that we work together, listen to our elders and that good behavior and good choices work to our benefit. The logic of “If I listen to what my mommy just asked me to do, then I will get this activity or item that I want” is a great way to get tasks accomplished and reward good behavior in one swoop.
These days applying some logic to a heightened situation can mean the difference between moving forward with our day or a massive tantrum. And as I continue to work on this, I’m starting to see the boys make the positive choices on their own without my prompting because they are anticipating a good response from me. I’m starting to see the “If I share a toy with my brother, then my mommy is so happy and gives me a great big hug.” It translates beyond just activities to emotions and feelings as well. Most importantly, it is teaching them that their choices and behavior have causes and effects, not just on themselves but on those around them. Hopefully this will encourage them to grow up and continue to consider how they act and speak and the response they may receive or how it may affect the people in their lives.
What tricks and tips do you use at this young age to get tasks accomplished and instill the value of good behavior in your children?
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.
Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.
How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.
sweet kids from day care?
Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.
I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.
Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.
Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.
Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me:
- “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!”
- “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
- “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.”
11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks
If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles.
I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.
1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.
2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.
3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).
4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.
5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.
6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.
7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.
8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.
9. Listen to some music.
10. Read a book.
11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.
These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm.