Best Behavior Modification Tool: Mommy Time
Thank you all for your kind words and prayers after my post on Monday. I wrote that post for myself. I needed to get the words out & I felt like I would be inauthentic if I wrote any other words. Since my expectations on how it was received were low, it was such a blessing to my soul to be given your encouragement.
One reader in her wise comment reminded me of the best parenting tool I have ever received. Mary wrote:
“As a mom whose youngest child is turning 22 in February I am here to remind you: ‘This too shall pass.’
Take it one day at a time, organize to spend individual time with each child every week, and before you know it they will be grown.”
I have been really struggling with our 4-year-old, middle son…with obedience, his language, how he treats his brothers. A year ago when I was struggling with his behavior I was desperate enough to seek out the help of a professional.
Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions taught me through a webinar some Adlerian psychology to help explain why kids misbehave. She stated that a child’s primary goal is to achieve belonging and significance.
Belonging: emotionally connected; secure about my place in the family; have sufficient POSITIVE ATTENTION
Significance: I am capable; I make a difference; I contribute in meaningful ways; I have PERSONAL POWER
So the child is saying “I want to belong and feel significant, but i don’t know how to do it.”
This is when the misbehavior such as: whining, clinging, helplessness, sibling rivalry, and tantruming occurs. If they don’t get the positive attention they need they will get it with negative attention seeking behavior. If they don’t get the personal power they need (when we order them around too much) they become more defiant.
In order to provide our children with a feeling of belonging and significance, Amy suggests “Mody, Body, Soul time” or what I refer to as “mommy time”.
Mommy Time: spending one-on-one time with each child for at least 10 minutes, 2x per day.
Guidelines for Mommy Time:
- mom (or dad) needs to be emotionally available…not on the phone or computer.
- activity should not be on the computer or time spent watching t.v.
- do what the child wants to do (a puzzle, game, color, chase, trains)
- label it before and after
Last year I had been really good about implementing “mommy time” but I have completely neglected it the last 6 months or so. Yesterday when I read that reader’s comment I was reminded of the importance of one-on-one time with each boy and how it would help with my middle son’s behavior.
You may read “ten minutes one-on-one with your child” and think that is not very much. I was actually amazed how if I’m not intentional I can go the whole day without being one-on-one with my boys.
Being a pretty routine/structured person, it was helpful for me to be routine in when we did “mommy time”. Some moms enjoy a more relax way of life and “mommy time” may happen naturally in their day. I needed it scheduled…
Here is the schedule I’m hoping to re-introduce:
- 7:30 to 8–eat breakfast
- 8 to 8:20-clean up breakfast and get dressed
- 8:20 to 8:50- mommy time!
Afternoon (after naps/quiet time)
- 4 to 5 waking up/playing/snacks
- 5 to 5:30 mommy time
- 5:30 to 6:30 cook dinner
I think what amazes me is how spending “mommy time” with each boy actually allows me freedom to do other things afterward. Because their “attention baskets” are filled they don’t interrupt me cooking dinner and I deal with less problem behaviors in the evenings.
My tips for multiple children:
- draw names to decide who goes first
- emphasize the importance of not interrupting another child’s time (consequence is that the child they interrupted gets more time added)
- may need to set a timer on the microwave or your phone
- tell the child “I loved spending time with you. It was really fun to ______”.
My goal this week is to implement “mommy time” into our days. Will you join me? I would love the accountability! Our own little “mommy time” challenge.