The Positive Discipline Parenting Tool for the past week was Take Time for Training. This tool is primarily related chores/cleaning. The idea is this: before you expect children to do chores properly they need to be taught how to do them properly. This happens by first modeling the appropriate method, then working with the child together to complete the chore and then finally laying out expectations clearly for the child to complete on his own.
This tool had slipped through the cracks in my house, and I was so glad to bring it back into light this week. We have had a difficult time the past few months with our five year old, and until I started considering this Tool I was kind of at a loss for ideas. It was great to be reminded that sometimes a little training or teamwork is neccessary to get the job done with a child. I have been constantly telling her that she needs to get her room clean before we get in bed to read stories, or before we go to the park. The problem was that I would go into her room 30 minutes later to check on her and she would be playing with toys, or going through old art work, or reading a book etc. Not much of the room would be "clean". Then she would be frustrated because I would be asking why she wasn't finished, and I would be frustrated because she still had so much work to do. Many times she would want me to help her, but I felt like that would be giving in and letting her off the hook. She should be responsible for her room right? Maybe not!
After some thinking I decided that we needed to go back to square one. We spent Monday afternoon cleaning her room together. Not only was I modeling how to clean the room, but we were also making sure that all of her things had a specific place and that she knew of and agreed on that place. We had fun organizing the room and working together, all the while talking about how it seems easier when we just do one part of the job at a time. First we picked up clothes, then we cleaned up the closet and organized her shoes, and then we went shelf by shelf and organized her toys and homeschool materials. We both felt great when we were finished. We also agreed that this was a job she could do herself if it wasn't too messy, so to keep the mess at bay she decided she would clean up every day at the end of the school day, instead of just once a week. We also brainstormed ideas to keep her room from getting messy in the first place: don't play with any toys, give toys away to charity, sell toys at a yard sale, put things away as soon as they are done being used, etc. She decided the ideas that would work best for her were giving some toys away and putting away things as soon as she was finished using them.
The rest of the week I reminded her, as she finished up with something, to put it back where it belongs. At the end of our school day I asked her to go and do a room check to determine what needed to be done to make it clean. We did the check together the first couple days. We pointed out the things that weren't as they should be and then talked about the two or three steps that it would take to get it done. For example: organize shoes in closet, put away coloring books and markers, and make bed. She had clearly laid out tasks and she knew how to do them. Things went really well. I can honestly say we didn't have any fights about cleaning her room the whole week. We had the best week we have had in a long time!
I can't wait to start working on next week's tool - Validate Feelings!