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Child make over

July 17, 2013

If you read my post about organizing the Tupperware cabinet, you know that my not having a job is taking its toll on my sanity. What started out as a “lets fix this house up” mission has spilled over to the children.

It is fair to say that I seek out ways to make my life miserable chaotic busy, so why not decide RIGHT NOW is the best time to “help” the kids kick some annoying habits?

The oldest, Blobby, who is about to turn 7 in a few week is doing quite well overall but has always struggled with a smart mouth that he inherited from his mother. He is a pretty smart kid, so coupled with his smart mouth and superb negotiation skills, he can be…..annoying. He lacks the ability to judge appropriate environment for his mouth, which I fear will leave his teachers exhausted with his defiance. He is getting ready to start 2nd grade and we really need to get a grip on his behavior.

The baby, Bean who is 4, has terrible bedtime habits and not so lovely table manners. Unlike his brother, Bean is more of a picky eater. This is not a trait I will tolerate. I understand not caring for a food, what I don’t like is saying you “don’t like” something that you have never tried or “not liking” multiple items. I expect my children to

  • Try a bite of everything
  • Sit nicely at the table
  • No playing with food or silverware
  • Chew with our mouths closed
  • Speak positively about our food and if you need to express not liking something say “I don’t care for” or “I would prefer”
  • Asked to be excused from the table
  • Wait for everyone to be seated (unless told otherwise) and say grace before eating
  • Clear your place
  • No toys, playing, inappropriate talk or horseplay at the table

Currently our method of discipline as been to remove the offending party from the table until they are ready to follow the rules. If they do not rejoin the table by the time everyone is done eating they forfeit their dinner for the evening. They will get to try again at breakfast time. Part of the problem is that we have not been as consistent as we should be with the rules. Someone (my husband) likes to give 500 warnings, while someone else (me) ignores, ignores, ignores and then blows!!! Either way, it is not working as well as I would like.

I recently read about a family that uses a little trinket of a pig at the table. If someone breaks a table rule they get the pig placed in front of them. The pig travels from offender to offender throughout the meal and the last person to receive it must do the dishes. While that family has found that over time there are some nights that the pig does not visit anyone, I do not think I would be that lucky. I envision my children trying to earn the pig, and then my husband and I becoming so frustrated with the mess and length of time it takes for them to clean the dishes, we would ask them to NOT clean the dishes, resulting in the dishes not getting done.

So I am not entirely sure what method we will use against – oops, I mean – to support and teach our children proper table manners but I foresee a mix of methods, because once again I like to complicate things.

Then there is the bedtime issue. Here are my bedtime expectations

  • Everyone’s bed and floor are cleared of any toys or clothes
  • Everyone gets in bed, and lays quietly until Mom or Dad comes in
  • There is not talking, playing or messing around during bedtime story/song/back patting ect
  • Once Mom and/or Dad leave, we will not see or hear you until morning. Mommy’s quiet time starts at 8:30 sharp!
  • You sleep in your own bed – if you wake up you may move to a siblings bed on school nights. Mommy’s bed is only for weekends

The consequence for breaking a rule is that Mommy/Daddy will leave immediately and your door will be closed until we choose to open it again (the kids HATE for their doors to be closed.) The problem is that Bean takes FOREVER to go to sleep and he wants you in his room the whole time. I send the kids to bed at about 7:30, Bean doesn’t fall asleep until 9:30 on a good night!

During school season I need them up no later than 6:30, I need for him to be asleep before 9! They end up cranky, whiney and bratty otherwise.

My plan for attack on bedtime issues will be to strictly enforce the rules and consequences and ensure that Daddy does the same. Children who stay in their beds will earn a marble in the morning.

Have we discussed marbles? NO? Oh we totally will!!!!!

Repeat offenders will lose their bedtime story/song/back patting.

Wish me luck!

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