Stop Yelling at your Kids
We've all been there right? Brush your teeth... well. Your clothes don't match. No you can't wear shorts to school, it's 35 degrees outside. Why are you always on your tablet?
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. I was absolutely SICK of it. I shouldn't have to yell, remind, or get frustrated because we're leaving the house and my kids aren't appropriate for being out in public. They're 11 and 12 and should know how to "brush their teeth, well", by now. I also realized how incredibly addicted we are to our phones, tablets, and TV. It's pretty staggering, that includes me too.
So I finally stopped. No more yelling. No more frustration. No more guilt for indulging in our electronics and not playing a board game. I made an action plan. Here is my fail proof method to decrease stress, helping your kids take some ownership, pride, and... how to spend more quality time together:
- Start wth the TV. We'd always get caught up in the whole, "just 5 more mintues", thing. I put a timer on the tv to automatically shut off at 9 pm. That cues everyone that it's time to get ready for bed. No arguing and no negotiating.
- I made some checklists. These are no ordinary checklists. They're magical. They have clear expectations and clear consequences, if the expectations aren't met. This is going to decrease the frustration caused at bedtime and in the morning getting ready for school. It's also going to teach my kids a sense of ownership and pride in the way they look. Which in turn, will boost their self-esteem. If you're wondering how I keep track of the consequences, I'm glad you asked. I bought a small desk calendar and I take 2 minutes (a minute for each kid) inspecting at night and in the am. If the expectations aren't met, they lose tv/tablet time and I write the docked time on the next calendar day. Simple.
- I also implemented the 3 hr basket. It's just a medium sized whicker basket. I started off with one night a week, we chose Tuesday. Starting off small is really important. It's no different than working out or a diet. Small goals will get you a win, big grand plans have a smaller likelihood to succeed, if you're starting something new. From 6-9 pm on Tuesday, all of us have to put our electronics in the basket. Phones, computers, tablets, DS... everything. The only exception is if someone calls my phone. No responding to texts... nothing. We've deemed Tuesday nights game nights. Each of us gets to pick a game and we take some quality time. If you feel daring, make your kids be responsible for dinner that night too.
Every weekday night I've told them they had to place their iPads in the three hour basket, for an overnight sleep. This is a good habit to initiate now, to avoid possible pit falls when they are 16, 17, or 18- wanting to stay up late scrolling through their phones or texting their boyfriend or girlfriend at midnight. Boundaries are healthy and it's GREAT to say that we can have boundaries with our electronics.
I can tell you, already these small implementations have seen a big reward. My kids care much more about hitting the expectations of the morning checklists and they look forward to family game night. They see me model the way by showing them it's ok to have boundaries with your electronics.
Children crave consistency. It's not easy and I can't tell you that I'm supermom, every day... I'm not. All you can do is give it your best and try to set your kids up to be the best adults you can. At the end of the day isn't that what our jobs as parents really are? Not to be our kids best friends, not to avoid ever having them mad at us, but to set them up for success as adults. I promise, they'll thank you and respect you so much more for it, later. Hang in there.