Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rules, manners and a tub of fun

I was reading a section in "What to Expect the Toddler Years" which states that some parents begin to use time-outs as a discipline aid for their 17 month olds.

This got me to thinking about what rules and guidelines we have in place for Kylie. Just for grins, I thought I would share them with you.
Rule #1. No hitting. Karen and I have both talked about this one but fortunately it hasn't been an issue for Kylie.

Rule #2. We don't throw food off the table.
For a couple of months now, Kylie has occasionally tested us on this one. She'll hold a piece of food away from her highchair or booster seat and look at us like, "Are you going to say/do something?" And we'll say, "If you don't want it, put it on your tray or hand it to Mommy ". And she usually puts it down. But it took some doing to get this boundary in place. For a while, throwing food was Kylie's way of letting us know she didn't want something or was done and frustrated. But then she learned the "all done sign" in sign language and she learned to say "No". Now she hardly ever throws a piece of food.

But every once in a while, she'll get a mischievous look in her eye and she'll hold a piece of food away from her. We'll say our usual line and she'll kind of nod to herself as if to say, "Yep, that boundary is still there". It really IS all about repetition. And if she throws it anyway, we say "Kylie!" in a stern voice and we get her up quickly from the table. The key for us is to not talk to her because normally, when we clean her hands after a meal, we praise her for being well-behaved at the table.

Off the top of my head, these are the only two rules we have in place. But we do have some expectations and some things we are working on.
  • During meals, we are trying to teach Kylie to put her sippy cup NEXT to her plate instead of ON her plate of food. And we're working on teaching her to "SET DOWN" her sippy cup of water and not throw it when she's walking around the house and decides she's done with it. We've gotten some success on the first part and not so much on the second.

  • This month, she's become interested in wiping her hands so we've started putting a small napkin next to her during her meals. And she's started to signal to us to let us know she wants her hands wiped. We'll wipe them and then she'll grab the napkin and finish wiping them herself.

  • She can stand on our family room green couch and on her own child-sized chairs but we've started telling her to sit down when she moves like she wants to stand on one of our other pieces of furniture. This is mostly for her own safety.

  • Stay on the sidewalk.
    Kylie wants to walk up to all our neighbors' front stoops and doors. She is very used to hearing me say, "Stay on the sidewalk" and guide her away from the driveways. The good news is that the sidewalks are filled with interesting rocks and lovely flowers so I have lots of options for distractions. But we have had quite a few toddler meltdowns when I've needed to herd her back to our house and she doesn't want to go.

  • One book at a time.
    This one is important to me. Kylie can play with her books, she can explore them and chew on them and so forth. But we've been encouraging her to not rake large armfuls of books off the shelf and onto the floor. If she looks like she's going to get a handful, we'll say, "Pick ONE book please" and amazingly she does!

    Of course, manners go both ways. In the past, if Kylie was holding something that she shouldn't, I would just take it from her. Now I'll say, "Please hand that to Mommy" and she usually does so. It's the same thing with wiping her hands and mouth, I used to just do it. But I've started announcing, "I need to wipe your nose" and she tolerates it better.

    Whew! That was a long post! What rules/expectations/boundaries/things are you working on with your kids?

    And for those of you who visit to see Miss Kylie, here she is playing in a tub of water in our back yard. We are making the most of end of Summer.

  • 1 comment:

    Kerry Lynn said...

    One thing I keep meaning to say to you is that I can't believe you haven't designed a masthead! I think you could make an amazing one!

    I can't even reply to this post. I'm going to have to make my own post.

    We have a lot of the same issues but unfortunately a lot more!