Happy Friday Friends!
You know, I have been doing a lot of introspective thinking regarding my parenting. I have rained down hard judgment on myself as a mom. But you will be happy to know that I have come to the conclusion that I don't have all the answers, there is no ONE right way to do things, and my best is the best for my girls.
And I have to tell you that I have realized little changes make BIG IMPACT. Here are the changes I have made. Not many since I can't do it all. :)
1. Do, act, say everything with love. It seems kind of sappy but I have noticed that when I focus on doing everything with love towards my children...I mean, really engage my mind and my choices...I actually convey loving kindness. I really want my children to know and see that I love them. Not just hear the words.
2. Humbly receive wisdom from seasoned mothers. I have always been afraid to bother people or bore them with my mothering woes. Now I just ask everyone questions and you know what? People talk. People understand with surprising compassion. And I have found I am not alone with so many things.
3. Hold to standards that last a lifetime. I have gotten so slack with my mothering because I wanted peace more than I wanted every moment to be a teaching moment. And I heard this once and never forgot it. You either pay now or pay later with that kind of thinking. My children are a legacy and a heritage. My letting things go says so many bad habits are OK. So I am consciously making an effort to stay consistent.
4. Letting things go. I am also learning that not every misdeed or negative talk will lead to a lifetime in the pokey or worse...the frightening prospect of teenage deviance. I make mountains out of every molehill and I am trying to lighten up. It makes me enjoy my kids, offer mercy and grace, and I find I laugh more.
5. Praise goes a crazy long way to empower my kids. The one thing I did not notice was how my weariness began making everything be negative. I zeroed in on all the bad things my kids do and then stopped praising for the good things. So I started my BEHAVIOR CHARTS again. These are fun during potty time or when teaching your kids values but when things go bad...well. Call me a mean ol' mommy but I don't feel much like giving a sticker after a 30 minute scream fest. But my kids need to feel proud of themselves.
So I decided to make 2 charts. One to encourage my kids while offering a lot of grace and one to remind them that though they are given adequate chances...there will be consequences for repeated issues.
(Click image to download)
The first chart here is the 3 strikes chart. I was tending to be too harsh and going right to a consequence without allowing room for improvement. What an amazing change I saw with this! At Cati's school, they use the stoplight method where they all start on green but can go to yellow and then the dreaded RED. I did not want to simulate the same thing as school since my home is different so I decided to do 3 strikes and then a consequence type of chart.
I just put an X for each strike and then wrote down the consequence. That way, when we do the star chart (below) she will know why a star may not have have been earned at some point of the day.
(Click image to download)
This chart was initially going to be a sticker chart but I decided to put both of these into a page protector (to further reveal the geek I am) so that I could use a dry erase marker and not use up paper over and over. Below are ones I made for myself (they are a little different then the ones you can download).
It works great!
I use a different color star for each child and just go down the row. They have a chance to earn stars 4 times a day. Morning, afternoon, and evening times with an EXTRA opportunity at the end of the day. Kind of like one more chance to improve or for going above and beyond what is expected.
You are able to download these for personal use if you wish...cuz I love ya! I made them kind of light and fun because I wanted this to be an encouragement and an empowering thing for my girls. I figure if I hang up pieces of paper all over my wall I can make it somewhat aesthetically pleasing. And not too loud looking.
Do any of you have some great teaching methods in your home to help encourage and modify behavior?
I would love to hear about them!!