So, as you may know, we have 4 little ones. They range in age from 8 years down to 4(in 2 weeks). Having a peaceful dinner is not common around here. My husband and I usually spend more time saying, "Sit up! Don't wipe your face on your sleeve! Stop rocking in your chair!! Use your fork! Small bites please!!" than we do actually talking to our kids during the most important family meal of the day!
The older they get the more we are realizing that what they learn now will shape who they are when they are grown. That is a little unnerving when I read the above paragraph! I really want us to raise well rounded, respectful, God fearing people, who will be great citizens. It really is an overwhelming task, and definitely the most important job we have right now.
We have been talking lately about ways to make changes in the way we discipline our kids. We have noticed lately that we spend more time talking at them (sometimes with loud scary voices) than we do actually talking to them and teaching them how they should act. I learned a few years ago that the word discipline comes from the word disciple, which means TO TEACH!! Quite a revelation when you think about what most people believe discipline means. When you hear the word discipline, what comes to your mind? I first off think of spanking. Time out. Punishment. All of these words provoke a fearful feeling in me. I certainly do not want my kids to be afraid of me. I would much rather them feel like they can come to me for anything. Ask me anything. And I want them to expect me to always teach them something, even when they have behaved badly.
Kids are humans just like us big, smart adults. They want to be treated just as we do. The Golden Rule applies to everyone! Treat others as you want to be treated. I don't want to be spanked. I don't want to be yelled at or told I'm bad. And I certainly don't want to feel like I've completely disappointed the ones I love! When my husband and I discuss things that make us feel heated, neither of us wants to talk it out if we are yelling or accusing each other. We both shut down and usually nothing gets resolved. I really don't like that feeling. I'm sure our kids don't like it either.
So tonight, we decided to make dinner a little different. We would like to have calm family conversations during dinner. That can't possibly happen without boundaries and rules. Our plan of attack tonight was simple. We laid down the ground rules before the food hit the plates.
-Everyone sits on their behinds with their legs in front of them.
-No one touches their plate or utensils until the food has been distributed.
-Forks and spoons are used to eat, not our hands.
-We use polite words when we want something like, "May I please have more rice?"
-No one leaves the table without being dismissed.
The consequence for breaking a rule...TIME OUT.
Time out in our house means standing in the corner with our hands at our side and face in the corner. No moving, talking or whining or the time starts over. This helps them learn self control. They are told that a rule has been broken and there are consequences.
You spend the same number of minutes in time out as you are old.
We did have 3 of the 4 in time out. Once their time out was completed, they were asked if they understood why they went to time out, then they were allowed back at the table.
I have to say it was a great dinner. They all tried very hard to use their self control while at the table. Remembering all the rules and manners is hard for a kid. But as we all know, making mistakes is how we learn! They all learned something today. I was one proud momma!! I hope to continue the teaching tomorrow!!
Tomorrow the challenge continues. Our morning schedule needs a bit of tweaking to insure a peaceful day for all. A rough morning, makes for a rough day! I'm all about starting the day off happy! I'll see you back here tomorrow night with our new morning routine outcome!!