Parenting Styles- My Toolbox. What’s in Yours?

Since we’re in the three year-old stage, my relationship with Little Miss Thang has been, at times…rocky. Confession: some days I’m not having fun. Some days it feels like all I do is bark orders and holler when she doesn’t comply- and not like the good kind of holler, like ‘holla!’ but like, yell.

When she was two, we had a lot more fun. Tantrums weren’t as common, she went along with whatever we had to do and she seemed to like her Mama a lot more. I liked me a lot more too. Can you relate?
I know that I’m not alone in this. I also know that I had to devise a plan to keep my sanity- and hers. I followed an example from my nephew’s school’s reward system.

So first, I got a Responsibility Chart from Melissa and Doug (do they make anything I don’t love?!). This thing is awesome. It ‘s magnetic, comes with tons of magnets and has so many chores and different rows for different tasks.
Our system right now is very simple: Stella starts out with five smiley faces each day. If she misbehaves, I give one warning before taking one away. If she still has all five smiley faces at the end of the day, she gets something out of the ‘treat bag.’ This consists of a bunch of little toys I picked up from the dollar bins (I don’t reward with candy and sweets because I don’t want to send the wrong message about food, but use whatever works for you). BUT, if she doesn’t have all five at the end of the day, guess what? She gets nothin’. We then talk about how and why she missed out and how she can do better tomorrow.

Oh yeah, the bottom portion is a dry erase board- just make sure they have no access to regular markers.

She has grown to really love the thrill of picking something out of the ‘treat bag.’ I know it sounds silly to threaten ‘taking away a smiley face,’ but she genuinely gets very upset often replying with, “No, you not take away!”

It took her awhile to earn all of her smiley faces. In fact, after the first four days, I had to act like she had in order for her to see what she was working towards. But after that first time of picking something out of the bag (and getting a peek of what was in there) it was like she had her ‘ah-ha’ moment. It started to click for her. (Order yours here.)

Some of the different task magnets that it comes with- even blank ones so you can write in whatever suits you best. 

This seems to really work for us, but the key is FOLLOWING THROUGH. In fact, that’s starting to become my #1 asset as her Mama. I find that it’s very difficult, especially if they’re screaming and crying in protest but I know how important it is for me to keep my word. I’ve even turned into that Mama that has turned the car around- and I wish I was kidding. But you know what? When I threaten, she believes. Now that deserves a ‘holla!’

So, what works for you? Is there something that’s been particularly effective in getting your kids to be better listeners?? Please tell us!
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About Rana Mancini Cavanaugh

Rana is a Chic Mama dedicated to helping other Mama's live a fuller, happier, healthier life through this blog. She is proud to announce she just finished an eBook on how to travel with kids and is finishing up her first novel. She is a happy wife to her sweetheart since the fourth grade and Mama to a lovely little girl. Happy Travels! xo

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