Story Time at Behavior Boot Camp

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Do Rules Relax Too?

With summer in full swing, is anybody feeling we’ve relaxed a little too much? Have you let more of your routine go than you’re comfortable with? For me, it is a balancing act I’m just learning to perform. Maybe when B was younger the routine didn’t seem so necessary, or maybe when I worked outside the home (in a school), summer break was summer break and I didn’t question it. But this year, I have mixed feelings. Some days, I see no reason to hatch a plan or commit to anything besides enjoying the sunshine and following B’s lead when it comes to activities. Other days, I start to crave the predictability of a schedule and I get a little stir crazy.


Bye-bye Bad Behavior


A friend of mine recently commented that she felt her children needed a “behavior boot camp” to wipe out bad attitudes and talking back. She found success in just a couple days of reminding her kids of her expectations. I think sometimes a behavior backslide is at the root of my desire for routine. We let the routine go, then maybe we bend some of the rules, and B has trouble knowing what to expect and acting accordingly. I have no desire to be uber-scheduled or living by my day-planner (I don’t even own one). My new plan for balance is this: summer days will continue to be joyfully free, unplanned, and spontaneous, but we’re going to take lazy out of the equation. When we get up in the morning (or sometimes just before bed) B and I will discuss our plans for the day. We’ll have something to anticipate and look forward to, as well as expectations to adhere to. I think it will make the days happier for both of us.


Travel Trauma


If your summer plans include travel (we have several small trips planned), routines can be hard to come by and behavior an even bigger challenge. Laying out plans and expectations are even more helpful away from home, and that I can say from experience. When B knows what the day holds, dealing with the less fun stuff (car rides, waiting in line, etc) is mitigated by the anticipation of the fun stuff (visiting attractions, seeing friends and family). New experiences also tend to cause a bit of regression in all of us, but especially preschoolers and toddlers – it’s hard to act like a big boy when anxiety is making you want to crawl in mommy’s lap. Getting a heads-up on the people or places you’ll encounter may help the day go more smoothly for your little one. It works wonders for B.


Please Say Please! – It’s a Book, It’s a Game!
Please Say Please! Penguin's Guide to Manners
Please Say Please! Penguin’s Guide to Manners is a fun book that can help your child remember and practice her manners and social development skills. In the story, Penguin has invited several friends to his house for a dinner party. On each page, the reader is presented with a scenario, “When a chimpanzee wants more to at,” and a possible animal behavior, “she should grab what she wants. Gimme, Gimme!” Followed by the question, “Is that right?” The answer is no every time, but you can make a game out of suggesting an appropriate behavior before you turn the page for the author’s suggestion, “please pass the bananas.” This is a great way to reinforce the expectations at your house and discuss that other people or situations may require different behaviors. The author Margery Cuyler, covers 11 dinner and social gathering behaviors, including trying new foods, talking with one’s mouth full, and greetings and good-byes. B got a lot of laughs out of the “bad” animal behaviors, and did a great job of correcting them.


Appropriate for preschoolers, primary grades.


Linking up with What My Child is Reading this Week

2 comments:

Raising a Happy Child July 6, 2010 at 9:03 PM  

Thanks for joining WMCIR. This book sounds very interesting, and I totally agree with your points. Even as a very young child, our daughter was always more cheerful when she knew what to expect. She is also a big stickler for rules - she inherits it from her German father :) Of course, she also tests those rules from time to time, but we are trying to be consistent and enforce the consequences. As the result, we have a pretty well behaved child... most of the time.

Anonymous,  July 7, 2010 at 2:33 PM  

Your blog about behaviour couldn't have been better said. It seems that vacationing and travels open the door for special treats, experiences and skipping of things like naps!!! Although having an overly structured life is no fun and strssful, I too find the need to have some routine and clear expectations for the household. I cannot wait to head to the library or bookstore to read a copy of the book! Thanks for the insight - Tera

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