Entries Tagged as 'discipline'

disney craycation recap

08.11.15

Welp, we survived. We went to Disney World with two toddlers–a three year old and a nineteen month old.

We got back on Wednesday and my response to people’s questions about the trip has been, “Well, the kids were terrrrrrible, but we still managed to have fun.”

That’s not just me exaggerating, by the way: the kids were really, really badly behaved… one more so than the other. Any guesses as to which one?

Pack your princess dresses for Disney World @ohbotherblog

Whaaaat? Not that little princess; no way. Oh, yes way.

I get it: the kids are overstimulated, they’re way off schedule, they’re missing naps, they’re sleeping in weird rooms, they’re hot, it’s crowded, they’re waiting in lines, they’re exhausted. Also, having my parents and myself all in the same place provides many opportunities to try to play us off each other and test out our patience… and discipline levels.

But let’s just say I made many parents feel good about themselves and their children during this trip.

People have been following up my admission by saying, “but your photos looked like you had such a great time!” Listen, you’ve seen the clickbait articles; you can make anything look good on Instagram.

If I were completely honest on social media, the trip would have looked primarily like this:

GB sleeping all over Disney World @ohbotherblog GB sleeping all over Disney World @ohbotherblog GB sleeping all over Disney World @ohbotherblog GB sleeping all over Disney World @ohbotherblogNaps in Disney World @ohbotherblog

And this:

Disney World Meltdowns @ohbotherblog

Oh and I guess some of this:

Mickey Waffles in Disney World @ohbotherblog

In all honesty, we did have a great time, despite the less-than-pleasant kids’ behavior. We ate a ton of great food and had some really fun experiences.

I’ve already had people asking me for suggestions for their next Disney trip, so I’m going to try to break it down into multiple posts focusing on the various parks, dining, etc. Given how good I am about updating the blog currently, this may take me until my next Disney trip to complete, but hey, we’ve all gotta have goals. Keep checking back for updates.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this tip for your next Disney trip: leave the kids at home. Disney World is awesome for adults.

“power struggles”

28.07.15

This past week, I attended another great parenting workshop offered by Family Child Resources and Family First Health, two wonderful community-oriented organizations in my city. Last month, I took a class called “Parenting the Preschooler” and found it to be really helpful so I signed up again.

Truthfully, things in the behavior/discipline department have improved since the last class. Whether it’s Holden responding better to my cues or me just ignoring her craziness, overall things are looking up. Now the issues seem to be how to handle two little toddlers at very different stages of their toddlerdom at the same time. But that would be a semester-long class all to itself.

This month’s workshop was called “Power Struggles,” a topic I’d say I’m somewhat familiar with. We started by talking about the struggles we’re all currently facing and I tried very hard not to dominate the conversation, as I have a ton of great material. We were asked to identify our physical triggers that we feel before we get into an argument with our kids (muscles tensing, gritting your teeth, breathing heavily, etc.) and then we talked about ways to stop ourselves from getting worked up: namely, Square Breathing.

Square Breathing: a tip for parents of toddlers @ohbotherblog

Square Breathing: Take a deep breath in for 4 counts, hold it for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts. Apparently the counting requires your concentration and requires you to focus on your breath, rather than the incorrigible little monster standing before you.

Not getting worked up is important: once again the moral of this class was Do. Not. Let. Them. Win.

The Toddler Power Struggle Cycle @ohbotherblog

Our teacher demonstrated for us two hands pushing against each other. When one side stops pushing, the other side “falls”/loses. This hearkens back to the lesson from the first class: keep your cool and ignore the bratty behavior. Don’t fight with them and they lose the power to push back.

Power struggles with your toddler @ohbotherblog

For me, though, the best way to avoid getting worked up is to avoid the situation in the first place, so luckily, we talked about that too.

Toddler Power Struggles: Turn Your Word into Gold @ohbotherblog

One of my biggest takeaways from this workshop was this: “No” is a complete sentence. Don’t allow them to talk back. Don’t continue the argument. This is something I struggle with.

I also noticed that I tend to phrase things as a question when I talk to Holden: “Are you going to come eat dinner?” “Why don’t we go to the potty?” “Can you stop hitting your brother with that wooden train track?” I guess I was trying to make her feel like she has a choice in the matter, but really I just open myself up for arguments and pain.

So really, in the end, we’re all just struggling to be The Boss.

Goals of Misbehavior: Power @ohbotherblog

But in order to be The Boss, you actually have to act more like that  “Like A Boss” meme. Don’t let those little jerks cherubs ruffle your feathers. Keep cool and stand your ground.

 Parenting Like a Boss @ohbotherblog

Easier said than done, right?

calling in the professionals

29.06.15

Tips for Parenting a Preschooler @ohbotherblog

Recently, I attended a workshop series called “Parenting the Preschooler,” which is offered by Family Child Resources and Family First Health, two great organizations in my city. It’s no secret that I’m having some challenges raising a spirited little girl, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

While nothing in the class was particularly mind-blowing or new information, our instructor was very informative and knowledgeable and I found it extremely helpful and refreshing to be surrounded by parents and caregivers who were experiencing my same frustrations.

Our instructor led us like she was prepping us for battle. There was a lot of talk of not giving in, not letting them see you cry and not letting them break you. It’s us vs. the toddler… and let’s be real: a lot of times it feels that way.

The big takeaway for me was the importance of completely ignoring irrelevant behavior, as in ignoring your kid when they’re acting like a brat.

Parenting a toddler: ignoring irrelevant behavior @ohbotherblog

Our instructor emphasized the point of not giving in to the whining and the tantrum. If you break after an hour, your kid knows that they just have to whine for an hour next time and then they’ve got you. 

She warned us that the behavior will most likely get worse before it gets better. Again, don’t give in. And then, when the behavior finally stops, immediately praise your kid for working through their tantrum. This will teach them that tantrums don’t get your attention and encourage them to try a different approach to communicating.

I had an opportunity to test out this approach immediately on the car ride home with Holden. And… it worked. It took 25 minutes, but she stopped. I’ve probably used this technique at least once every other day since taking this class, and it really does get easier and the tantrums are shorter and less severe. Sometimes it’s easier said than done to completely zone out and ignore your kid who’s going full Exorcist in front of you, but I’ve really been happy with the result.

We also talked about effective Time Outs, which should be reserved for serious rule breaking like hitting, throwing things or breaking a family value you’ve deemed important.

Tips for effective Time Outs with a toddler @ohbotherblog

Another mother in the class mentioned that she had trouble getting her daughter to stay in Time Out, a problem I have been experiencing with Holden. Her solution was, rather than make her daughter sit facing the wall, she let her daughter sit with her back against the wall during Time Outs. That way her curious, busy little girl could still see what was going on around her.

Immediately after the workshop, I also Amazoned (yes, I shop on Amazon so much I use it in verb form) a new Time Out timer: the Amco Digital Color Alert Kitchen Timer/Clock.

Amco Digital Alert Color Time Out Timer @ohbotherblog

The clock slowly (soothingly) flashes yellow during Time Out, then flashes faster red during the last minute and beeps when time is up. If you set the timer for more than 10 minutes, it flashes green. At this point, the recommended Time Out length is one minute for every year of age, so three for Holden. 

I think the flashing yellow light mesmerizes her, which helps to calm her down. The red light is an indicator that she’s almost finished with her punishment. So far, this timer has been an amazing tool in my discipline arsenal. As a bonus, she’s much more calm when she comes out of Time Out than in the past.

Ain’t no shame in my game: I’m super glad that I went to this workshop and am already planning to attend next month’s workshop: “The Power Struggle.” Sound familiar?

Parenting a toddler @ohbotherblog

 

fireworks fail, or my worst night as a parent to date

05.07.14

My hometown puts on a pretty fun event for Independence Day at our Atlantic League baseball stadium. Think bounce houses, carousel, playground, live music, concessions and, of course, fireworks.

If you’ll recall, we forewent fireworks for Holden last year. This year, I thought we’d give it a shot. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go well.

I’ll preface by saying Holden has been getting her two-year molars, had a fever the day before and I was keeping her up about an hour and a half past her bedtime. But she had taken a nice, late nap so I thought we might be okay. Spoiler alert: we weren’t.

My mom and I got to the stadium (with both kids) around 7:45pm. We rode the carousel and had fun on the playground.

Then we headed onto the field to set up our blanket and stake out our spot for the fireworks show, which was to start around 9:30pm. There was a fun Army jazz band and Holdy got her dance on for a bit.

Then Ms. Antsy got, well, antsy and started to run around a bit. My mom went off chasing her and… 15 minutes later… brought back a possessed demon child from Independence Day hell.

The screaming. The kicking. The writhing. The teeth gnashing. As I carried her out, literally kicking and screaming (and in the process dropping her shoe, which I had to humiliatingly accept from a nice man who chased after us to return it to me), I could feel all eyes on us. Some judging. Some sympathetic. Some terrified.

I took her to a grassy spot off the field that was slightly more private and actually had to form a human Thundershirt to calm her down. For 30 minutes, I struggled to get her to a level that I could even just talk to her. It was overwhelming, and embarrassing, and scary, and frustrating, and mortifying. But I think I kept relatively calm myself. Not sure what the thousands of bystanders would have to say.

The storm passed and we went back on the field to pack up and leave before the fireworks even started. She was calm (tired?) enough to ride in the stroller (usually a struggle) and we got to watch the ‘works on the way out and the walk back to the car. Bonus: we missed the traffic on the way out.

I’m hoping this is “normal” two year-old-stuff. The knowing looks I received from other parents tells me it is. But I’m not exaggerating when I say it was my worst night as a parent so far. I left feeling absolutely terrible about myself as a mother.

But the excitement on her face when she watched the fireworks for the first time *almost* made that 30 minutes of horror worth it.

Holdy's First Fireworks

*Almost*.

if you have a chair facing the corner in your dining room…

07.05.14

Time out chair @ohbotherblog

You might be the parent of a toddler.

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