One of my 18-month-old twins was constantly hitting my face, her sisters, the pets, etc. She was also doing this HORRIBLE thing where she would just scream bloody murder when throwing a tantrum. It was getting out of hand. When she had her 18-month check-up, I asked the doctor about it and how to fix it because my other two daughters were not like this. Her answer? Ignore the tantrums and praise her like crazy for good behavior.
Face Palm. DUH. Duh, duh, duh. And like magic, I started ignoring her tantrums, and started praising her like crazy, and she stopped doing it. So if it's that easy, why don't we always do it? BECAUSE IT'S NOT THAT EASY. It is super easy to remember to discipline a child for something they are doing wrong. I mean, it's right in your face. They did something they shouldn't have, they need a punishment. But why is it hard to praise? I think that we just forget all the good they are doing. We are happy with their behavior, so we don't think about it needing attention. BUT IT DOES. If we could remember this, our praise would give them the attention they crave, and they would continue to do more good. So how do we remember these things? Ah-ha! That is an excellent question. I am NOT a great example of remembering to praise all the good, so I'm trying to be much better! Here are some things that have helped me.
The World Needs Farmhouse Brown Frame Magnetic Board
Make yourself reminders throughout your home. Reminders are a WONDERFUL thing. Set an alarm on your phone that reminds you every once in a while, put a note on the wall, or even make a more permanent wall hanging that will be right in your face every day. For example, you can hang the Petal Lane Magnet Board in their bedroom, then every morning when you wake them up, and every night when they go to sleep, you'll see a constant reminder. With the night reminder, you can reflect on the day and see how well you did with praise and where you might be able to give more. The more reminders you get, the more praise you will give, and eventually it will be second nature.
Wear a Reminder
Have you ever seen people wear a rubber band on their wrist when they are trying to break a habit? When they do the habit they want to avoid, they snap the rubber band on their wrist to hurt themselves a little bit and remind them to stop doing the bad habit. Same goes for praise. If you are wearing something, like a rubber band, to remind yourself that you don't want to yell, fight, or discipline your kid constantly, you will have a better chance of remembering to praise your children. You could also choose a bracelet, necklace, or ring that has some kind of saying that reminds you to praise more. Wearing a reminder means that you'll constantly have that reminder no matter where you are.
Tell your children your new plan
If your kids are old enough to do so, ask them to help you remember. Explain what you're doing, and ask them to tell you when they do great things. Or ask them to remind you to not yell as much. If you can tell your child something like, "every time mom yells, 'say, mom, yelling'" then they can help you remember you want to praise more. They obviously won't have to do this forever, but it will help you make it an awesome habit.
Take time each day to appreciate them
Your children are constantly doing amazing things, and we may be too busy to notice, whether on our phones, watching tv, or simply doing our own thing. Take some time each day to sit back and appreciate your children. This can be as simple as a two-second thought about something they do well or have done well that day.
The more we are able to praise the good our children do, the better. They don' t actually want to get in trouble, so we need to give them our attention when they are being AWESOME. Remember, even bad attention IS attention and helps them get more time with you - good or bad. So love those kiddos, and praise them like crazy. Positive reinforcement all the way!!