Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Look Into My Parenting Philosophy

It's been very busy around my house for the past, oh 6 months.  My daughter was born and my son went crazy.  I'm not sure if he's jealous of her, or annoyed that he's not the only child anymore or if his behavior can all be blamed on his age.  And gender!  I'm sure it's a combination of all of that.  The past 6 months was a rough transition for my husband and I so why wouldn't it be for our 4-year-old too?!?  I quit work at the childcare center where I was his preschool teacher and soon after was his last day there.  Then, he started at a new preschool with a new teacher and new friends.  He has to share the spotlight at home and learn how to act around a baby (and a sleeping baby!)  We went from two incomes to one, so we've had some stressful times because of that.  So I know it's been quite a change for him.  He loves his sister and his excess energy has never come out in violent ways, but that doesn't make his rambunctious behavior any less annoying!  And unfortunately (I'm embarrassed to admit this) we've turned to cartoons and video games, particularly Mario Kart Wii, to help us get some down time.  He loves him some screen time!

I really don't want his couch potato habits to escalate anymore, so I've been on the hunt for ideas for some sort of chart to track his screen time and give him a visual for what he's limited to.  Being a preschool teacher in my past life, I always feel the need to make lists and charts and organize things anyway I can!  It's an addiction.  I'm also big on positive reinforcement and positive discipline.  I made a "responsibility" chart for Cade about a year ago and we tracked his daily goals with some sort of stamps each day.  He had a set number of stamps to earn before he got a special reward.  He loved it and it worked wonders!  I always encourage parents with preschool or school aged children to use visuals to help get your point across or to help "train" your children to do whatever you want them to do. J  

Here's what that chart system looked like:

Everything is laminated and we used dry erase markers to make the "stamps" and write the stamp goal.  All the different rewards have a piece of Velcro on the back to attach to the Velcro dot on the "goal" sheet.  Cade loved this, but has since outgrown those goals.  He's getting old enough to have actual chores and special duties around the house so I wanted a new chart to have those.  Also, I wanted to incorporate his activities and limits on screen time somehow too.  This is where it's getting complicated.  I'm continuing my search online for ideas so I can simplify my version.  I found great ideas on this website and I'm wondering where it has been my whole life!  I love it!  It's given me wonderful inspiration and hopefully I'll have an update soon for what I come up with for a new responsibility chart that works for us.

I love this kind of stuff and I'm always trying to learn new ways to teach kids and feed my hunger for organization!  I welcome any of your ideas!  Also, I'm willing to give tips for what I've done in the past or if you'd like a downloadable form for the chart I used, I'd be willing to share that too. 

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