I utter these words EVERY DAY, they seem to fly out of my mouth but not into his ears.
Since becoming a big brother, Jude has struggled with sharing the spotlight. When I focus my attention on Noah, Jude acts out. Typically, his actions are aggressive but not intentionally harmful.
With clenched jaw he reaches out to hug Noah. His hands, small yet strong, wrap around his little brother’s body and squeeze until Noah starts to panic. I intervene and remind Jude that he has to be gentle with his little brother.
We are having a difficult time teaching Jude that he needs to keep his hands to himself. We read books, sing songs and repeat phrases like “Keep Your Hands To Yourself!” yet we are still fighting this battle. We also implement timeouts when he gets too rough, making sure to explain to him why he is in timeout. He understands the concept of being gentle but just can’t seem to put the concept into action.
Joe and I are learning that correcting the bad behavior is only one step in helping Jude learn to be gentle, we also need to reward his good behavior. So we started using these print out behavior charts from KidsPointz to help encourage Jude to be gentle with his little brother. The behavior chart focuses on rewarding the good behavior rather than punishing the bad. Jude earns a sticker on his chart each day he remembers to be gentle with Noah. After the chart is full he gets a special reward.
The chart helps both Jude and I remain consistent. To make it easy for him to stay on task we use visual aids, like images of the reward.
The key to successfully implementing the behavior chart is choosing an enticing reward. Once Jude’s behavior chart is full he has earned the reward of playing a video game with Dada. We choose rewards that are experienced based and typically involve spending one-on-one time with either Joe or I. Eventually, we may implement a monetary allowance when he get’s older, probably for chores, but for now he responds best to earning an experience rather than an object.
So far the reward chart has been pretty effective. Everyday Jude asks for a sticker to add to his chart, when he asks I remind him of what he needs to do to earn his sticker. Occasionally, throughout the day he will come up to me and tell me that he has to be gentle with Noah so he can get a sticker and play a game with Dada.
I think he just might be getting it!
Every child is unique and requires unique parenting. But there is one thing that remains constant in parenting, all children long for praise and encouragement. As parents it’s easy to react to negative behavior and ignore the good. We expect our children to behave appropriately but just like everything else we teach our kids, good behavior needs to be taught.
More Information about Positive Parenting: KidsPointz is a great resource to find help with positive parenting.
I received compensation for this post however the opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not influenced by the company.