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|Toddler - Week #88|
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Evan had his first timeout at home this week. He has been naughty at times, and we usually use words to reprimand him or distract him from undesired behaviors, but I felt it was time for him to learn there are consequences to his behaviors. I do not mean that I will not use my typical phrases to redirect his behaviors. I still plan to say things like gentle hands when he is ready to whack the dog. But this week he has been purposely antagonizing his sister. The behavior that led me to put him in his first timeout was when he threw a truck right at his sister's head with complete intent on hurting her. He was mad at her for not giving him her baby doll and he wanted to show her just how angry he was! It was at that point that I decided we were beginning timeouts.|
|Creating Good Readers:|
Structure is important in controlling and teaching correct behavior, and it is also important in teaching reading skills. While reading is a nice social connection for parents and children, it also requires some structured teaching when it comes time for children to learn to read. Evan's daycare actually starts some structured learning for pre-reading skills pretty early. Alice goes to this same daycare, and when she was in this earlier classroom, she really enjoyed the way they used flashcards. During circle time, the teacher would show a card with a letter and say the letter and the sound. She simulated this all the time at home with her pretend circle time. Now she includes Evan in this simulation. It is not too early to start trying to convey the idea that letters are attached to sound. Before you know it, your child will begin saying these sounds.|
|Book Of The Week:|
Evan's naughty behavior made me think of this book:|
Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
This book is a favorite of mine! Alexander has one of those days when everything just goes absolutely wrong. He wakes up with gum in his hair and the day goes downhill from there. He gets in trouble throughout the book and experiences terrible situations. This book is perfect to read aloud whenever anyone is having a bad day. You have to read it with high drama to really captivate its energy. Throughout the story, Alexander repeatedly decides to move to Australia, which tickles my funny bone! Everyone can relate to feeling this way, no matter what age we are. The rhythmic nature of this book is enough to hold the interest of the youngest reader, while the idea of having one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days is something we can all relate to!
One of the things I decided to do with Evan this week after starting timeouts was to paint his own timeout chair. I know this seems weird, but I thought if I involved him in an activity like this, it may take the negative stigma off the actual chair. So I purchased a small wooden stool from the unfinished furniture store. We painted it together to make it very special. |
Another activity popular with Evan this week has been follow the leader with Alice. This is funny to me since they are usually fighting. They are usually vying for the top dog position, so to see Evan agree to follow her is quite ironic. But the premise behind this game is actually helpful in learning to follow commands.
This is sung to the tune of "Little Jack Horner" and I have been singing it with Evan when his timeout is over. |
Why are you here,
Sitting in your time out chair?
Mommy's little guy,
Your behavior has been bad
And it made Mommy sad,
Now say, "What a good boy am I?"
Evan enjoyed painting his chair. The one issue with this was that I wanted to use real paints since I wanted it to last, but I knew regular acrylic paint would be a tough clean up! I made sure to cover Evan in some old clothes so I could just throw them away. I also made sure the bath was ready for us as soon as we were done! |
My timeout song is a hit. Evan isn't old enough, in my opinion, to hear a big lecture about his behavior. Singing this little song to him has become the signal that the timeout is over. I am hoping he will soon sing it with me. I think he will realize the message is the behavior was not acceptable and it makes Mommy sad when Evan isn't doing the right thing. To me, this is quite similar to counting in timeout with Alice.
|You're Probably Wondering.....|
"What is the right way to give a toddler a timeout?" |
The first thing to understand about timeout is that it is not a punishment. Most people go into this thinking it is some form of punishment. This is not the case. What a timeout is meant to be is a means of separating your child from an undesirable behavior without giving that behavior any attention. Punishment is more negative attention that you don't want to give to an undesirable behavior. Likewise, yelling or hitting are forms of negative attention that will just backfire. Often, kids will do things just to get your negative attention if it's all they can get from you. Try time outs for extinguishing undesirable behaviors and be sure to reward the behaviors you like to see by using positive attention, like lots of hugs and praise.
So if you have chosen timeout as your way of dealing with objectionable behavior, what is the correct way to do this? You must realize that placing your child in timeout needs to be done with no emotion. This is the hardest part for me. I think finding success with this comes from not waiting too long to use time out. If I wait too long and the behavior has been occurring for a long time or I have been chastising the behavior frequently, by the time I move my child into timeout, I am now dealing with my own emotions as well.
So now that I have decided I will give a timeout if a behavior warrants it and I am doing it quickly instead of letting myself get worked up, I have tried to find the perfect location. I am hesitant to ever use a child's bedroom for a timeout. I don't want my children to associate their rooms right now with timeouts. As they get older, I like them to feel like their room is a good place to go and seek some solace from overwhelming situations. But for now, I don't want anything to interfere with their sleep patterns. Of course, sometimes Alice chooses to go to her room when she has a timeout. This is okay with me. Being flexible is a good thing when it comes to time out. Even though Evan has a special chair in the kitchen, if he runs to the couch to sit, that is okay with me, too. People used to think the child had to sit where he was put and that he shouldn't be allowed a toy or the television on or things like that. But nowadays, I believe it is about separating a young child from the behavior. If I am telling Evan not to throw his toys and he goes instead to sit and watch television-I am happy with that. We aren't talking about grounding him!
How long the timeout should be is also something to consider. The normal rule for time- out is one minute per year. But at this age, consider thirty seconds to be long enough. If you try to make the time out longer, you may just be creating a game of getting up and being chased. You definitely do not want the timeout to be a fun game! However, there is something to be said for sitting with your child in timeout and doing something pleasurable like reading a book or singing a song. In fact, it may be a nice idea to place some lesson-type storybooks beside your timeout area. Just be sure not to force your child to read. If he is happy enough to sit there and hear the story, take advantage of the time. The point is to calm him down, redirect the undesired behavior, and maybe teach a lesson if he can understand it. That is why I made up my silly song. The only lesson I really think Evan can understand right now is that some things he does make Mommy or Daddy or Alice sad and that he can't do those things or we will ask him to stop and sit with us.
The best way to make this effective is to use it very minimally. I have reserved timeout to be for really naughty things like when Evan purposely hurts Alice. He doesn't do that very often. Up until a few weeks ago, he hadn't really done it at all. But he has been beginning to see it gets a rise out of her, and he likes her attention anyway he can get it. I have had to work with her to get her not to immediately react but to instead let me pick Evan up and take him to his thinking chair. There we have all our little books we have read and made along the way-books about using nice hands, what our teeth are for, bad days, manners, and more. I think we need to make one about throwing trucks! Maybe that will be my adventure for next week! Stay tuned!
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