A few weeks ago I posted about the book 21 Ways to Connect with Your Kids. This last week I started taking the quiz the author provides in order to narrow down your child's personality. As much as I love this concept for the book and think that it is great . . .my kids are a little young. The quiz does not fit them at their age. Instead of worrying about the quiz, I instead am just focusing on the "Connection Ideas" to add some spice to our lives. The first one is "Fifteen Dollar Family Fun Night". I'm putting this idea aside for when the boys are older because it will be fun for each of us to take turns to plan this type of night. Right now, my kids go to bed at 7:30 - we really aren't partying at night HA!. The second Connection Idea is to eat dinner together. Well, we do. Every night. I will say that right now we are working on teaching the importance of all staying at the table and not wondering around the house. The boys have to sit down with us, eat something and, when they are done, ask to be excused. Once they do that, no more dinner! This is a very quick lesson to learn once they go hungry one night :-)
So,for now, I'm working on Connection Idea number three - Looking for the positive. I think it is so easy to say "No" all of the time and constantly be in "corrective" mode. I find myself getting frustrated with the boys because they don't respond to what I tell them to do. What I'm doing now (or trying to do) is to find positive things that they do throughout the day to praise them about. For example, Josh cleared the table without being asked - I praised him all over the place for that one. Or when Nate gave up a toy for Josh to play with - tons of praise all around. The author gives a list of 50 things you can say to encourage your kids right now such as "I believe in you", "I love spending time with you" or "You make me laugh".
Right now, my husband and I lay down with the boys almost every night. This started as a discipline corrector - when the boys moved into one room, they played for hours after we put them to bed. I got so tired of going in their room and yelling at them, moving one into another room as punishment and just being plain frustrated with their behavior. One night, I laid down with one of the boys and guess what? They went to sleep. So now Darryl and I lay down with them - switching boys each night so we get equal time with them. We sing songs, talk, make shadow puppets and then snuggle with our kid until at least one child falls asleep. Do you have any idea how much they love this??? They fight over us sometimes . . .well, they fight over Darryl because, in Josh's words, "Dad is more fun" HA! It is one of the best times for positive reinforcement as we really connect with each child. And yes, for the record, Darryl and I do fall asleep at times too . . .it's just so relaxing HA!
Before I move on to Connection Idea four, I want to make sure that the idea of being positive is a habit. Something that just happens without thinking about it.
So, as I'm working on those ideas, I wanted to move on to the next book. I decided to pick up That's my Son by Rick Johnson. The premise is "How Moms can influence boys to become men of character." Isn't that my whole goal this year??? I'm looking forward to really getting into this book and sharing some snippets with all of you!