Our two-year-old Lydia has always been the type who takes a while to wind down, but in the late spring after she stopped nursing, she went pretty easily into a relatively smooth routine of listening to several stories and then saying good night and lying alone in her bed in the dark listening to a … Continue reading Bedtime List: How to organize a child’s routine
One of the hardest, most humbling things about being a parent is those moments when your child communicates with you using strategies that you've used with him or that he's seen you use with someone else--and you shouldn't have. We all have times when we do something to try to get another person to do … Continue reading Cooperation, Communication, and Consequences
We thought Becky Bailey's book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline was a mixed bag that contained a few good techniques; this is one of them. Bailey talks about it in a more long-winded way, but I boiled it down to this formula, which I've found easy to remember and therefore to actually use in … Continue reading The X, Y, Z Method of Child Discipline
This is a story I've told my son Nicholas many times. It's entertaining for him, but it's also a story that really gets him thinking about right and wrong, temptation and resistance, punishment and forgiveness, what those kids who get into trouble all the time might be thinking, and many other interesting issues. It's inspired … Continue reading That Time I Caused Trouble in Sunday School
Welcome to the February 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Do It Yourself This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants are teaching us how to make something useful or try something new. *** By the time my first … Continue reading How to Get Kids to Behave in Church
This is a controversial and confusing question. Some people go on and on about how parenthood melted their selfish hearts and made them realize the importance of devoting themselves fully to making their children's lives perfectly wonderful and completely safe. Other people go on and on about how children are hedonistic little leeches whose spirits … Continue reading Should Your Family Be Child-centered?
Today I received email responding to my recent article on child discipline and asking me to take a look at this article: 10 Alternatives to Saying No to Your Child. That's some good advice! I'm glad to see it on a site that helps people find jobs as au pairs (childcare providers who live with … Continue reading Saying “No!” to Toddlers
If you have any opinions at all about the appropriate methods of disciplining children, and if you are ever anywhere near any families with different opinions, someday you will find yourself in this situation: Your child sees another parent respond to a child's behavior in a way that your child recognizes as different, which may … Continue reading What to Do When Your Child Witnesses Bad Discipline
Our son Nicholas is seven years old now and sometimes puts up a fuss about brushing his teeth, but he's nowhere near as resistant as he was when he was a toddler, and the lesson I learned then still seems to apply. Soon after his teeth emerged and we started brushing them, the novelty wore … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Toddler Toothbrushing Edition
We live on a quiet street, but just around the block is the main street of our neighborhood, which has lots of traffic, parallel parking along both sides, and lots of intersections where right turns on red are allowed. Only some of the intersections have traffic lights and walk signals. There are lots of useful … Continue reading Traffic Safety for Little Kids
(I had to add some words that don't start with S to help search engines find this article!) Our son is six years old and still kind of wishes Mama would stay with him all the time he's sleeping. He understands that grownups don't need as much sleep as children and have other things to … Continue reading Simple Solution to Six-year-old’s Sleep Situation (coming into parents’ bed)
When our son Nicholas was just beginning to talk and simultaneously expanding his interests in climbing on things and stacking things in tall piles, his father Daniel taught him an important word. This word summed up a major reason to be cautious about climbing that thing or stacking that way, in one word instead of … Continue reading Important Word to Teach a Toddler
This is a common game of babies: Drop an object on the floor. Wait for adult to pick it up and give it back. Drop it again. Repeat until adult begins tearing hair, turning purple, or otherwise doing something entertaining. We didn't play that game when Nicholas was a baby. I had been noticing since … Continue reading What to do when a baby repeatedly drops something
Nicholas at four years old likes to negotiate about how he spends his time. It's mostly a good thing: Of course he should have some say in what happens, and compromising and prioritizing are important skills. The trouble is that he has so many things he wants to do and so little time at home--he's in … Continue reading What I did with the Mad my kid felt
Disclaimer: We only have one child. Other children may react differently to this technique. Give it a try and see if it works for you! I started into parenting thinking that it's unfair to impose a consequence on a child without warning him first (except in a dangerous situation, of course) and that once you've … Continue reading Second Chance
This is one of the simplest yet most profound parenting tips I've heard: When your child is driving you absolutely insane, and you wish he'd just get with the program and act like a civilized human being, and you're sick and tired of his getting in the way of all the very important things you … Continue reading Really Only Very Small
Nicholas still acts up in church sometimes. A couple of weeks ago, we had an even more difficult time than the one I wrote about last year. It started with Nicholas wanting to go to the bathroom just as I was listening eagerly to the Old Testament reading, which was the story of what happened … Continue reading What right have you to be angry?
A few years ago, my mom and I saw a toddler having a tantrum about leaving an outdoor tourist attraction at closing time. She wanted to walk--NO she wanted to be carried--NO she wanted to ride in the wagon--NO she wanted to shriek and thrash in the gravel!!! This went on and on and on … Continue reading Show. No. Fear.
We've been struggling with our three-year-old's demanding behavior and angry outbursts and have sought help from several books. The most recent was Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey, frequently recommended in online discussions. Overall, it's an okay book. The main idea is that a conflict is an opportunity to teach your child skills he … Continue reading Great system, bad example!
Well, the technique of counting to three had a good run, but it's not working anymore. Nicholas tried using it himself to get us to do things we'd refused to do, he saw that we still refused, and now he sees no reason why he should comply just because we're counting. I don't remember ever … Continue reading Counting to Three…Part Two