The Crack-Down

Since Austin's birth things have gotten a little out of hand around here. My boys are all really good, but without structure and much follow-through they start acting up. Little by little I've let my children become naughty. I don't blame them, but it's time for a serious change.

I think I know how to do this, but it isn't very easy right now...

1. Sit them all down and explain that things are going to change.

"We will no longer be using unkind voices, or hitting, biting, pushing, poking, whacking with sticks...Also, we listen to mom and dad and obey their every command. No more asking 45000 times for you to come get your shoes on...I ask once, you come. If you come immediately, you get a skittle. If I have to count, no skittle. If you don't come by the time I get to three, you must sit on a chair. But Let's not dwell on the chair part. Lets talk about the skittles!..."

(During this discussion Jack seems to be getting it, Taylor seems off in a dream world but at least he's sitting where I asked him to, and Noah is just looking at the large cup of skittles I'm holding, waiting to find out when he gets one.)

I tell them words that I love (okay, sure, and coming) and have them practice saying them cheerfully. Each time they do I squeal with delight and they laugh and laugh.

Then we practice and practice, reward and reward, praise praise praise...

2. When I feel like they've grasped the concept, I let them go, but stay close. They tend to clump together when they play, so they're easy to supervise. I follow them around as they move from the living room to the bedroom to the family room...with a baby on my arm and skittles in hand.

I reward them for sharing, for using nice words, for scooting over instead of pushing, for turning off the TV when I say, and helping whenever I ask. I call one over from time to time and give a skittle if they come right away. I remind them of my favorite words. I praise them as much as I can. I diffuse any fighting before it escalates and help them handle things better. By staying close I am able to really help them remember all that we've talked about and follow through on things right away, instead of calling "hey, what's going on in there!" from the next room when I hear things getting out of hand. No anger involved.

I do this for a few days, and poof! New and improved little boys. From there I just need to keep up the praise, be consistent, and make sure all of their needs are being met quickly.

Thats the idea anyway...

I'll let you know how it goes.

And the good news is, if they continue being naughty, well...I get to eat a lot of skittles to comfort myself.

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