Discipline Technique 2- Counting to 5

It is well researched that one of the stages that toddlers go through is the defiant stage. What do I do to get my toddler to corporate when she’s in defiant mode and I need her to come to me immediately? I start counting 1…2…3…4…5. It normally doesn’t get to five. Usually I get to three or four and then I can hear her little feet beating a hurried path to get to me before the dreaded number 5.
However if she’s being really defiant she will do one if two things:
1. Wait until number 5 to see how much she can push the boundaries.
Or
2. Be cheeky and count with me ( can you believe it this little madam is only 2!) then come running with a cheeky grin.
What is my response?
1. I say aloud’ Ok, that’s that you are going to get a consequence’. This lets her know she’s in big trouble and signals to her that she has done something wrong and I’m not happy with her. Then I go and physically get her. I knee to her level, to ensure I am not at all intimidating since intimidation is not my goal here, and I speak to her in a calm even tone. I inform her that when I call her she needs to come immediately and if she does this again then she will be placed on the naughty step ( See introducing the naughty step… An earlier post.)
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Creative Activities

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Another activity that I am amazed at how well it encourages my toddler to be creativity is the ‘ Princess dress up colour and sticker book’. It has over 100 stickers and 18 Princess picture pages to decorate, trace or colour.

My toddler spends hours enthrall with all the creative designs she can create. She experiments and knows exactly where the gloves, shoes, tiaras, bags etc should go. She has also started to colour coordinate.

Here are some examples of her independent work:

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Fostering Creativity

Crayons, a colouring book and some blank paper are the cheapest but most effective tools that I use to engage my toddler while engendering creativity. They not only provide colourful entertainment but also assist in the development of essential fine motor skills – i.e. grasping and holding. Plus, drawing (er, scribbling). This helps foster a babe’s imagination and creativity. So why not be creativity with your little one by pulling out the art supplies? They are even a godsend on the go. It’s best to stash an eight-pack and some scrap paper or a coloring book in your diaper bag for an easy and portable distraction that you can pull out any time.

Some of my toddler’s art work:

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To Breastfeed or Not to Breastfeed?

English: WPA poster promoting breast feeding a...

English: WPA poster promoting breast feeding and proper child care, showing mother nursing baby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Liquid gold, designer milk, baby’s first gift from mum. These are just a few of the names used to describe breast milk. I chose to breast feed totally up to 6 months. What I mean when I say totally is just that, for six months my babies ingested nothing but breast milk.

Consequently, I am a strong supporter of babies being breast fed. I believe that babies should be nursed by their mothers. I can’t understand some people’s distaste of the idea of breast feeding. Something so natural being despised.

I remember when my little ones were first born. I had decided to breast feed from the time I found out that I was pregnant; breastfeeding was therefore never at all in doubt for me. I researched and the midwives were great in giving me a DVD that charted three women’s experience of breast feeding with the techniques to make it a success.

I have realised that everything can have a successful outcome if you have the correct technique or formula. Subsequently, as soon as my babes were born and I was given them for the so vital skin to skin I put them on the breast to suckle. They were both stars. They latched on instantly and started to suck.

The first night was the hardest. The babies didn’t sleep and were so demanding. Breast feeding like anything else is hard. The first days are the hardest because of two things:

1) The baby’s stomach is the size of a small marble so he/she requires to be fed little but often.
2) A mother’s first milk is called colostrum. Colostrum is produced by all mammals in the first few days after giving birth. This first milk is packed with a huge amount of goodies, including immunoglobulins, anti-microbial peptides and other bioactive molecules including growth factors – a nutritional armoury designed to get a newborn through the critical first few days of life. Its properties have been revered for thousands of years across many cultures: in ancient Chinese medicine it was regarded as a vital health-giving potion, and for the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania it has long been regarded as an important part of a healthy diet. There is little of this for the first 1-3 days so it is therefore exhausting work feeding a demanding baby constantly when you have just suffered the trauma and rigors of labour.

Is breast feeding natural? Yes

Is breast feeding beneficial? Most definitely.

Is breast feeding the best gift a mother can give to her baby? Absolutely

Is breast feeding hard, tiring and at times arduous? Conclusively

Is breast feeding most certainly worth it? Most positively

Why not then give it a try?

Is ‘me time’ the new four letter word?

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Is ‘me time’ a four letter word? A mother’s responsibilities and duties are immense. There seems like there is not enough hours in the day to get everything done. After the nappy changes, feeds, cuddles, house work, dinner preparation, laundry and all the other duties that a mother has, where is the time to take care of her?

Motherhood is a balancing act and I have become the acrobat on the trapeze- quite an expert I must admit.

How do I do it? One word. Prioritise. For me the most important people are my husband and my girls, so if I have to leave the hoovering until later while I prepare the meals and care for them that’s exactly what I am going to do.

Let me know how you do it? How do you balance being a woman, mother, career woman etc? It would be interesting to know.

While you lay sleeping …

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While you lay sleeping I sit, legs curled inwards and watch
While the dawn breaks and night sleeps
While stirrings of life begin outside
it is only stillness here as I study the face of the one I love

Your cheeks pressed firmly on my breasts
Your breath warming my heart
Your body curled up to mine
I wonder how I ever existed without you

You are exactly what I imagined
The connection is so strong it is as if I knew you even before I met you
You are exactly what I saw in my dreams
A cheeky little girl with pigtails

That bosses me about in such a way I laugh out loud
That says ‘Mum can I have hot porridge please?’ In the sweetest of voices
That says ‘ Mum you are my best friend,’ and makes me instantly well up
That says ‘ Goodnight Mum, I love you,’ and my heart swells

You are my purpose
Perfection in an imperfect world.

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Introducing the Naughty Step- Discipline Technique 1

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Call it what you may: The naughty step, time-out, isolation or reflection time. These phrases just serve to describe an essential behaviour management or discipline tool that is vital in parenting.

I use the naughty step for my two year old. This name might change to time-out when she becomes a teenager but for now it is the naughty step. The naughty step helps to reinforce to young minds the idea of sanctions and consequences. It helps to set the parameters of acceptable behaviour and is therefore a necessary behaviour management tool.

I started to use this as soon as my little one reached two and I will continue to use the naughty step until she is around six.

How do I use this?

When her behaviour is unacceptable, for example, she refuses to follow instructions, I give her a warning. In the warning I tell her that if she doesn’t do the correct behaviour, that is, do what Mummy has asked her to, she will be put on the naughty step. She stays on the naughty step for two minutes because she is two. Consequently the time spent on the naughty step directly relates to the age of the child so three minutes for a three year old and so on.

If she continues with the unacceptable behaviour she is sent to sit on the naughty step. I ensure that the step is placed away from the traffic in the house, so it is at a quiet area where she can sit and reflect on her behaviour. Not that she does this. The time is spent screaming ‘ bloody murder’. It’s as if the world is coming to an end. Additionally, during her stint on the naughty step she gets no ‘obvious’ attention from me. I act as if she isn’t there. Of course I am aware of what she is doing but she doesn’t know this. That is the main reason why she hates sitting on the step because it is the worse punishment a child, especially a two year old, can get. Mum is the centre of her world and to have this person ignore her and be unhappy with her- forget it!

When her time is up I call her to come to me and have the following conversation:

‘You were put on the naughty step because you refused to follow Mummy’s instructions. Mum asked you to stop jumping on the sofa because it is dangerous and you continued jumping anyway.’

‘What do you say?’

To this she will reply: ‘ Sorry Mummy.’

Then I will give her a big kiss, cuddle and tell her I love her.

How does she behave after being placed on the naughty chair you ask? Well her behaviour is exemplary and then she forgets and does the behaviour again. That’s the thing with the little ones they will forget a few times but if you are consistent in your approach it will work and the behaviour will not be repeated.

As with all behaviour management tools, consistency is key. That means even when I’m tired and don’t want to be bothered, I still can’t let her behaviour slip or allow her to get away with bad behaviour. I have to ensure I reinforce the positive behaviour while giving a consequence for negative behaviour at all times.

Who said parenting was easy actually lied.

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It’s Positive!

She could not wait, but she knew she had to. Morning seemed like it would never arrive. Finally she was awakened by her Blackberry phone’s alarm. She went into the bathroom and quietly pulled the door towards her until she heard the definitive click. She normally would leave the door open but she needed privacy this morning.

She took out all the instruments with care and placed them on the bathroom sink. The instructions said she should wait for at least two minutes to read the result. She closed her eyes. Waiting.

Slowly brown eyes flickered open, achieving focus on their mark almost immediately. Two blue lines brightly appeared in the window of the white tube. She was in a state of exhilarated ecstasy. Positive.

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Sleep? What’s that again?

Before children, sleep was my opium. It was so important to me and oh how I loved it. I could sleep for England. It was so good to me. Like a lover it would erase the fatigue from my furrowed brow, massage my aching muscles and calm my restless mind. I would have lie-ins like you wouldn’t believe. I would have cat naps more than a cat, these would be interspersed throughout my weekends. I would have sleep-ins whenever I wanted, just by closing the blinds and pretending it was still night. Mornings were time for deep contemplation and bargaining with my alarm clock for more time under the blankets.

Fast forward to 2012 with two children on board. Sleep is an elusive commodity. I seemed to be so wired that one ear is always listening, even while fast asleep it would appear, for the faintest cry or stirrings of an unsettled child and I am up like Usain Bolt off the blocks ( in my case off the bed) to tend to my distressed babe. The surprising thing is that the once important Sleep has now become inconsequential.

My priorities have changed with my changing identity. This new identity, Mum, has added clarity to my life and what once was so vital to my existence is now just a mere thing that can be sacrificed for the sake of fulfilling my new role, that of mum.

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