August 4, 2015

Keeping it Real: Parenting Problems

For those of you with children, or those of you who spend time around them, you know they are tough. The Mini Fashionista is strong willed. She is stubborn. She is demanding. She is irrational. All these behaviors are completely normal for a four year old, but they are really tough on her parents, especially me, the one who spends nearly all day, every day with her.

Summer seems to have been an especially challenging time for us. Maybe it's the absence of the routine that comes with school, or maybe it's that we are spending more time together because she is not in school. Whatever it is, it's not sustainable. The whining and the inability to listen and follow instructions is killing me. I imagine most parents with young children have similar challenges.

So, today I thought I would share a strategy we have been using lately to improve the Mini's behavior. This is not rocket science. It's a reward chart.

I printed it (download here). We filled it in. We established that in order to get her reward she has to receive three stars in each category. Last week was her first week, and she didn't have three stars in all five categories, so she didn't get the reward. We started over again with week two.

Here are the Mini's "Tasks".
1. Stay in bed at bedtime
2. Don't wake mom and dad up at night to go to the bathroom, get water, pull up covers, etc. (this is our toughest task)
3. Stay on stool while brushing teeth
4. Stay in chair during meals
5. No whining (we recognize "no whining" is probably unrealistic, we aim for a small amount)

Bedtime and mealtime are two of our most challenging and stressful parts of the day, The incentive of a reward is really helping The Mini to have better behavior and reducing the stress that we have during these times. I highly suggest trying this strategy to promote good behavior. So far it is working well for us, even if it's baby steps.


  1. LOVE! Something that can help with reward charts (I use about 15-20 different ones at any given time at work with my students) is to list everything in a positive manner. For example - "At night - go to the bathroom, get water, pull up cover for myself by myself" or "Use regular voice when frustrated or I need something". The last one you'd have to explicitly teacher what what that means (it really means no whining but is a positive way to put it). It's SO tough to put things in a positive light but then when you're talking to her about it you're rewarding positive words/behavior instead of "don't" and "not". Just my special education teacher two cents ;)

    1. Annie, thanks for the suggestions. Great idea. Of course I have read this sort of thing in one of the many books i have read, but forgot to utilize it. I am going to change our chart. :)