The One with All the Discipline

Let’s just be clear: toddlers are little dictators.

There’s a reason it’s called the Terrible Two’s and Threenagers. They are angry, impatient, demanding, hot little messes. They bring me to my breaking point, sometimes daily…or hourly. Sometimes they push me right over the edge. And the worst part? They are minions of my own creation. Don’t get me wrong, I love them to pieces! But when you see your character traits (um, flaws) manifested in the little people you love dearly it can be a little disconcerting.

I’m the first to admit that I have little to no patience, I like things done a certain way (read: my way) and can be completely and utterly stubborn. Maybe it’s my OCD, type-A personality, maybe it’s because I can only hear so many requests for Paw Patrol and water refills in one day or maybe it’s just God’s way of putting me through refining fire. Whatever the reason I have had to learn to deal with my own flaws in my children.

It.is.not.easy.

I fail….all the time.

Enter the aforementioned Type-A personality. There are times when being supremely focused, disciplined and head strong come in handy! Refusing to raise uncontrollable and disrespectful children is one of those times. I scoured Pinterest for ideas on disciplining toddlers and found that it mostly consisted of chores and schedules.Perfect! I have already given my kids chores and age appropriate activities that they complete on a day-to-day basis. They must:

  • Put their plates and utensils in the sink when they’re done eating.
  • Feed and water the dog.
  • Wipe up their messes.
  • Put their laundry away.

Maybe that’s a little too structured for some people and that’s fine. Remember those character traits I mentioned? Well, my kids definitely have the “structure” part passed down to them. They thrive when they know what to expect. Now I just needed to fine tune those habits into a schedule of sorts. I decided to divide the day in two so they could get a treat from the Treasure Box to reinforce the good behavior. A full day seemed a little too unrealistic to expect a 2 and 3-year-old to wait. The chores I settled on were:

  • Eat Breakfast
  • Brush Teeth
  • Feed Daisy
  • Get Dressed
  • Clean up Toys
  • Eat Lunch
  • Be Kind
  • Help Mommy

{The only differences in the bottom part of the day are “Eat Dinner”, “Take a Bath” and “Put on PJs”. I added the “Be Kind” and “Help Mommy” as a catch-all for using their manners, playing nicely, following instructions, etc. They don’t always do so well with these but it gives them something to work towards and repetition is key.}

Once I had a plan in place, it was off to Target for the supplies I needed. A cork board was all I had in mind but I ended up with some Velcro fasteners and laminating paper as well. I figured this way I could easily print off another chore chart should the need arise (puh-lease, of course it will!) Also, the laminated paper would make it easy to wipe off the “stars” they received to check off each item.

One chart per child with their names on them. I figured that name recognition couldn’t hurt at this stage either. And color-coded paper to save the headache of fighting until they started to recognize their names.

The finished product turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself! I explained what each picture meant and we practiced saying each one several times. Then I showed them the Treasure Box (crayons, coloring books, figurines, bubbles, pencils, books) and explained that whenever they completed the stars for each section of the chart they could pick one item.

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So far, so good! They love to complete their chores so they can get their stars on the chart, they race each other to complete them and ask for the next item and they LOVE to count their stars and make sure they get their Treasure Box.

Now if only Mommy could keep up with the charts while taking care of the newborn……

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