As my son is getting out of terrible twos and into troublesome threes, I realized my techniques to make sure he has his listening ears on and figuring out how to control the attitudes needed to change. We don’t have anymore of those tantrums on the floor but we have do “No, I don’t wanna do that”, “leave me alone” or “I only want this toy right now.” It was nice when we could raise our voice and they couldn’t talk back but now it seems like a whole new ballgame. I am learning to be very careful with my words because at this age he is really picking up on everything I say and using it towards me. The other day he told me, I needed to start asking to play with his toys and not just take them when I was cleaning them up. It’s very cute but gotta be smart about how I teach him when to use those words!
I started a new learning game with him called the The Game of Choices and it seems to be making a really positive impact on him. Here is what I did:
The Game of Choices: How to Play
- I created a set of cards that has a bunch of good choices and bad choices that I think my son would encounter. If you want to make this game for your child, make sure the choices apply to his day to day life. For example a good choice would be putting his plate in the sink after dinner and a bad choice would be throwing his toys at another friend. If you want to use the cards I created, it’s free! Just download the The Game of Choices.
- Each morning I let him pick 1 card out of the good choice pile and 1 card out of the bad choice pile. I mix them up, read them to him and let him tell me if it is a good choice or bad choice.
- I explain to him if he makes the good choice of the day he will get a reward but if he makes the bad choice of the day, he will get something taken away such as TV time or one of his favorite toys and he can have it back once he makes another good choice.
- The game is giving him a sense of independence, a goal to achieve that day and even something to look forward to if he has made a good choice. This morning he woke up because he made a good choice by sleeping in his bed all night by himself and he knew he was gonna get a reward for it. He was very excited to reach his goal.
Notes for parents:
- Keep the rewards and punishments very simple. Don’t go out and buy them a $50 toy. Give them something special to sleep with at night or maybe a small dessert. Give them an option for 30 minutes of your undivided attention to play, do puzzles or anything else. At this age they really cherish moments with their parents, especially since we are on our cell phones 24-7! In terms of the punishment you gotta stick with it, if you say no TV then it is no TV but then you have to put the effort in spending time with them since that TV time is gone
- Just choose 1 good and bad choice each day, too many will overwhelm them as your focus is to teach them how to reach a goal
- When letting them choose a card see if you can pull out the one that will apply to them that day. For example if you are going out to dinner choose one where he will stay seated during the entire dinner. It makes it easier for them to reach the goal
- Remind them throughout the day about good and bad choices they are making and keep reminding them of their goal because that will push them harder to reach it
- If they turn their bad choice into a good choice that day, reward them because they will feel like they met 2 goals
Good luck! It’s made a huge difference in our house as his listening and helping skills have really gotten better! I am learning I have to keep changing my methods to get through to him as his brain is growing a mile a minute! Check out my previous method that worked on him also called the Chores and Rewards System.