Connection Time Reduces Misbehavior

by Heligirl on September 26, 2011

in Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles,Positive Discipline

I’ve officially been at my new job four weeks now and the kids have started their new childcare/preschool center. A new routine is starting to set in and with it all the stress of change in the little ones and the resulting misbehavior. Time for some positive discipline.

The kids don’t like being away from me for two and a half days a week, aren’t that thrilled about getting up early and having to be out the door at a certain time, and really don’t want to wait for my attention on the days I’m home. It became apparent pretty quick I needed to dig into my positive discipline bag of tricks before I really lost my temper.

I’ve mentioned in the past about the importance of filling the child’s love cup (as Pam Leo puts it in her book Connection Parenting) or having Mind, Body & Soul time (as Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions describes it). Regardless of the title you use, it is the same thing – giving your child undivided, uninterrupted attention to meet his or her need to feel connected.

When a child feels connected, there isn’t the need to seek attention though misbehavior. Misbehavior is a symptom, so to respond to it, we must address the actual cause – the need to feel connected.

To put this to work I set the alarm for a little earlier in the morning and began going into my daughter’s room and snuggling with her as she woke up. We talked about whatever she wanted as I held her, kissed her and told her I loved her. We do this for about 10 minutes.

I found that she suddenly became much more willing to get up and dressed.

As she dressed, I went in and did the same with my little dude, snuggling with him then getting him up and dressed. They were both then really happy to get down to the business of breakfast.

Sometimes Hubby takes on this task, giving the kids some connection time with him in the morning.

Now that the kids go with me to my new job where they have childcare, I spend the 40 minute drive pointing things out and talking to them, even though I’d really like to zone out and listen to NPR. It takes some effort, but I’ve not had to resort to pulling out the iPods so they can watch movies (something I really want to reserve for just long trips as a treat).

When I pick them up, I take time to connect after daycare, giving them they each get hugs and a few moments to chat down on their level before we load up for the drive home, and we talk all the way home.

The days I don’t have work are harder because it’s during that time I have to do all my freelance work as well as running the house (shopping, paying bills, e-mail, etc.). I found myself failing those days because I was not taking that extra time with the kids to connect before I dove into my work.

I took a page out of the positive discipline books and started forcing myself to step away from the computer and play with the kids, uninterrupted, for at least 15 minutes, but longer if possible, before a stretch of things I had to complete such as a conference call, e-mail to respond to, important proposal to complete, etc.

I found when I took that time their attempts to get my attention (which were often laced with negative behavior) went way down.

So my tip for today is to remember to take time out to connect with the kids. It’s not going to be long before they don’t want to talk to you, play with you, or even be seen with you (I’m so not looking forward to the teen years). However, taking time with them now when they want that attention will build trust, security, and connection you can draw on when those rocky years hit.

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to connect with your kids?


Mama Spaghetti September 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Interesting! I definitely find myself forgetting to take the time to connect on days when I’m home all day. Odd how that works, isn’t it?
Mama Spaghetti recently posted: This is the proudest moment of my motherhood

Twitter: Heligirl
September 30, 2011 at 9:24 am

Those are the days I’m the worst too. What is WITH that? 🙂

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