October 25, 2013

I will talk sweetly to my mother.

(Just so you know, "I will not do it again", in my opinion, is a pointless sentence to repeat.)

As I re-throne myself as the queen of this monarchy, I'm finding a few bad habits.
I LOVE to teach in a fun, effective way.

Although I don't hit my kids with a ruler, I do adopt a few old fashioned ideas.

When a couple kids turned the TV on after school and insisted they FORGOT they had to ask first, I smiled and asked them write 100 times "I will ask before I watch TV." (To help them remember.)

-You act like you don't really care if they do it or not, but hope they write quickly so they can join the family for fun stuff- like dinner.  Then, walk away!!  Don't sit there arguing with them if they whine about it.

While my kids were writing, the other kids wanted to play a fun game outside.  The younger convict cried that she wanted to go out too.  After some pleading from the older kids, I did let them help their younger sister.  I think each kid wrote 5 sentences for her.  Darling.  

A couple days later, there was a repeat offender.  I simply asked her, with a big, real smile on my face, if she remembered the rule about watching TV?  She argued, "I thought Eve (the two year old) already asked."  I smiled and handed her a pencil and paper.  The second time I told her to make her I's extra bold.  "I will ask before I watch TV."  (We taped her sentences up near the TV.)

-When making up sentences, keep them short and POSITIVE.  Say what they will do, not reminding them what you don't want them to do.  "I will not spit water at my mother" for example, is a bad sentence.  It even makes me want to go spit water. :)

-Little kids need you to write the first sentence at the top of the page, so they can copy it.  Really little kids can trace your letters.  Write "I love to share."  Or, for a hitting child, "I will be SOFT."  Sometimes just the word "K I N D".

-And, I insist they write the whole sentence.  Not, 100 "I" then 100 "will" then 100 "be".  I want them repeating to themselves "I will be kind."  

This is a GREAT way to distract and teach.  It is especially good for kids who are smart and busy.  Smart kids will quickly learn that it takes less effort to listen than it does to write.

Sometimes I need a faster consequence.
I use VERBAL sentences.
Today, I had a child say 30 times (or 10 fingers three times) "I will listen the FIRST time."  

The second time I had her repeat the sentences she wasn't so happy about doing it.  I asked her if she thought I enjoyed repeating "Go get dressed first" to her 30 times.  She laughed and repeated her sentences.

Sometimes I have them SING to me.  "I want to be kind to everyone, for that is right you see.  So I say to myself, remember this.  Kindness begins with me." Or, "When we're helping we're happy."  Or, "If you chance to meet a frown."  Or, "Little bunny Foo Foo."  Love it.

-To help children remember and learn, they need to ACT.  Writing, singing, repeating sentences, clearing their plate 47 times, etc., helps them to use their agency to learn.  It works.  I think.  (Obviously I still need these tactics so I'm no expert.  Ha.)

-Don't go crazy with how many you tell them to say or write.  I'd say, long enough to get their attention and be annoying to them, but not so long that they are discouraged and apathetic.  Ten for little kids.  30 for middle.  100 for kids too big to be needing this reminder.  :)

-Yes, I make my big kids have silly consequences. BECAUSE they are teaching the little kids.  When they say, "Really Mom?"  I tell them, if you are going to teach my little kids to be sassy, I'm going to use you as an example of what happens when you are sassy."  100 times, "I am happy taking out the trash the FIRST time my beloved mother asks me to."  Ha.  I really haven't had to use that on them yet, but I would.

I also love funny sentences like, "I will ALWAYS talk KINDLY to my favorite mother."  Or, "When my mother calls me, QUICKLY I'll obey."

-The first time you tell them the sentence to say, say it in a happy, emphasizing voice.

-Have them say their sentences loud.  Everyone heard them be unkind, let everyone hear them being kind.  I say, "smile while you say them, talk in your sweetest voice."

Just some ideas I have for teaching your kids...
Fun and Effective.
If I'm going to spend my whole day teaching little stinks, I have to find some way to keep a smile on my face.
I really like sentence repetition.
They ALL laugh when I start repeating.  "I will ALWAYS talk sweetly."

Oh, how I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being a mother.
(I'm typing this on my phone one handed while Ben sleeps in my arms.  Yesterday I made Beef Stew and pumpkin bread and homemade granola.  Today we are decorating pumpkins and going apple picking.)

Life is lovely, just lovely!!)


Allie said...

I am so glad you are back in this capacity for you pretend friends who just love your parenting style.

I am SO doing this!

And then when our kids date and hopefully get married they can swap stories about their "darling"mothers.

Allie said...

*your pretend friends. sorry.

Kaela Frame said...

this is the cutest! I chuckled the whole time while reading it! you are such a cute mom :)

Unknown said...

This is perfect! Thank you so much. I have 4 little boys, ages 6, 4.5, 3.5 and 2 months. I especially needed the reminder to say it sweetly and with a smile on my face. You are amazing Jen and I am so glad you are getting back into your new groove!

The Nicholas Family said...

I sure needed this and from the looks of the above comments, so did everyone else! Thanks!

Camille said...

This is exactly how my Mom raised us, and is how I am trying to raise my children. My Mom was the kindest Mother....rarely showed that she was upset with us, but at the same time we KNEW when she was not happy with us. LOVE!

Shelly said...

I love this!! And I love that you repeat sentences too :) What a great idea (especially for the big kids! )

Shelley said...

Love this! I have 4 kids 5 and under and this would be great for my 4 and 5 year olds!

Diane said...

hmmm, maybe I will try this with my 4 year old. Nothing really works with him. Maybe this will...

Diana said...

Totally love this! AS I read, I hear my eldest son "Yes, Mother, I will do it right away." I had a time of making him repeat it immediately after I asked him to do something ... don't remember how long ago or why, but sometimes he still says it, and it makes me smile. I'm gonna have to improvise a little more, and use some of your phrases too! And writing is awesome... will borrow that for sure. :)

Christine Suldinger said...

I love this Jennifer. Does this work for 2 and 3 year olds as well? I need to learn to be more patient and sweet with my little ones

jenifer said...

With my two and a half year old, I am always having her repeat me. She'll scream, "I want milk!"
Then I'll say what she should have said, "Milk please Mother."
I say it with my eyebrows up and will not give her the drink until she repeats me, kindly.
This is such a habit of mine that I once said it to a rude receptionist.
She had me on hold and then returned. I said, "wow, I have been waiting on hold for over ten minutes."
She said, in a snotty voice, "and... What can I help you with?"
I was quiet and then said in my sweetest mother voice, "Ma'am, I'm so sorry you had to wait that long. We're very busy today. I'd love to help you now, if I can." And then I answered myself, "Well thank you, I'm calling to set up an appointment."
I didn't even realize I had done that except my husband heard and started cracking up. Ha! It works.

Christine Suldinger said...

Thanks for the tip Jennifer

Melanie said...

My boys decide on Halloween day to wage all out war at home while I quickly drove to the high school to help another son. After a quick call from my daughter to come home fast my heart raced. So did the car. Home, all are sitting at the table as if NOTHING happened. Positive sentences on love, kindness and concern were doled out to be written. They all finished before the night was over and did get to enjoy the evening. The BEST part is they remember what they wrote and it has curbed a riff or two. YEAH:)

Vintage Soul said...

Hahaha!!! That is awesome!! And thank you for this post; it is perfect in so many ways!! You are amazing!

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