Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Serenity Now...

So this afternoon was a rough one at home. When picking up my eldest child at school, I was met by the teacher who told me that the morning had not gone well. In a nutshell, my child did not behave today. She was inattentive, rough-housing and not following directions. I thought I would die from the vergüenza. I mean, I knew other kids behaved this way, but not my kid. The final straw was when I asked my daughter on the way home if she had sat in the "thinking chair" (which has never happened before) and she held up two fingers and said, "but only two times!"

She knew she was in trouble.

Later, - much, much later - after I was able to calm down and think about the situation, I realized that things are not as bad as they seem. How often have I read the blogs of mis amigas describing similar behavior breakdowns in their kids? And it occurred to me that it is not too late and my daughter is not on the road to self-destruction with a straw/spoon/fork (or whatever they use nowadays) up her nose wearing black nail polish, chains and leather, screaming "It’s all your fault! Why didn’t you color with me?"

I was able to assess the situation in a more rational way by the afternoon and realized that a) she had gone to bed WAY too late the night before (9 pm is ususal curfew, but I could still hear her up in her room at 10:30) and had skimped on breakfast (usually oatmeal, yogurt and a full glass of milk or OJ, but this morning she had barely finished the oatmeal.) In addition, I am generally somewhat of an anti-TV mom. I think it is unhealthy and inhibits mental growth. But for a number of reasons that I won’t mention here (but basically equal laziness on my part and letting myself get too disorganized in the way I schedule my family time and my work time,) there has been a little too much television watching in this household.

No, I am not making excuses. I am just trying to understand what is going on.

SO, needless to say, I have made un cambio grande in the house. Disciplining la niña includes absolutely no tv for the rest of the week, and even then, only one show in the evening (I’m a sucker for Word Girl) and ONLY if she earns it back. In addition, I am throwing the breaks on the whole daily routine (or lack thereof) and reorganizing our schedules. Being a work from home mom sort of sucks every once in a while because it is such a big balancing routine and if you’re not careful, one thing suddenly starts to shift and then it’s all plftht!

Another change we made this afternoon, was creating and implementing a "Chore Chart." To give her more responsibility and help her focus on following direction. So for those of you with 2 to 6 year olds, I thought I would share ours and maybe give you some ideas of things to list should you decide to create a chart of your own.

Ours lists the normal things like clean your room, make your bed, brush your teeth, set the table, etc. But it also lists a few unique to us, but I think are equally possible like, help mami sort the laundry, put away your clean clothes, clean toys off the stairs, sweep the kitchen, pick up pinecones, feed the chickens/puppy, help carry in the groceries, pick up daddy's dirty calcetines off the living room floor (ewww).... The possibilities are endless once you think of all the things our little "helpers" already try to help us do everyday.

Make the chart fun by adding little pictures next to each chore. Maybe you can make it bilingual to help their Spanish skills (hacer la cama, barrer la cocina, recoger las piñas, etc) And keep a special set of stickers to mark each box and keep track of their achievements. We also personalized ours by having my daughter write her name across the top.

I hope you all find this helpful! Mi niña is already excited about it and was extremely helpful this afternoon and evening. She even made her bed before she put on her pajamas.

Next post will discuss rewards….

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