This weekend I began reading the book Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman. I had read it a few years ago, but trying to apply all of it back when our daughter was still learning English and dealing with culture shock and adoption shock was a bit too challenging.
Through the years reading things like Parenting with Love and Logic I have been learning and applying similar principles of consistent and calm parenting (though not as consistent and not always as calm). I have also fallen into the “easier” routine of doing a lot of things for my daughter to keep things calm and to make her more amenable.
From the first 45 pages of Dr. Leman’s book, I was reminded that I am doing way too much for my daughter, things that she needs to be doing for herself.
Funny thing, on Saturday when she saw me reading this book, she read the title and said, “Yeah, right.” I just said, “We’ll see.”
Last night I made two lists: Before School and After School. The Before School list has everything she needs to do to be ready to walk out the door in the morning. It includes waking up by alarm clock, making her bed, getting dressed, brushing her hair, making her lunch, eating breakfast, taking her medication, putting on socks and shoes, brushing teeth, etc. Things are grouped together to equal 8 items on the list. Each of the 8 items earns 5 minutes TV or computer time. If she throws a fit or misses her ride to school, she loses all the minutes.
She did not do so well this morning. It started by her yanking the clock’s cord out of the wall after about 5 minutes of listening to it go off! I sat calmly on the couch waiting. She had crawled back in bed for another 10 minutes. It got worse…but she did make it out the door on time. Almost nothing was totally completed. She only earned 10 minutes.
The afternoon list includes putting her backpack, coat, and shoes away; reading; helping prepare a snack; straightening up her bedroom, helping with dinner, showering, and a chore. This earns after dinner TV or computer minutes.
I need to start right now honing my empathy skills: I am really sorry you did not earn very many minutes. *Hugs* Let’s look at how things can go better tomorrow.
It may take me longer than a week to read and apply all the principles of the book, but I think we are off to a good start. And, I already feel a lot less stressed than I have most mornings. So that is a plus!
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