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When Playtime is Over

Don’t you love it when your kids play well together. Even if the play area, which in my case is usually the living room, becomes a complete mess with toys on the floor, on the couch, under the table, basically all over the place. But even so, you don’t mind. Maybe you’re in a good mood and somewhat energetic. Or most importantly, your kids are happy and are having fun. And when your kids are happy, you’re happy. Right?
 
Siblings
 
 
 
So next it’s time to tidy up.
 
Playing a tidying up game is known to be the ideal way to get your kids to pick up their toys without making a fuss. Why?
Kids love to play games, and games are linked to being fun and exciting.
 

Playing with toys is fun, tidying up not so much

 
But what if you, whether a working or stay-at-home parent, simply don’t have the energy to do this on a daily base?
 
Kids are kids. At times, they misbehave and try to test you.
Where we, as parents, usually drop the ball; even when we apply a form of punishment, we tend to not always follow through on it, or we end up picking up after the kids.
Yes, this has been me several times, and I realized it was clearly sending the wrong message to my kids.
 
So here’s what I did differently.
Just a few days ago when it was time to clean up their toys, my kids (mostly my daughter), began to act up and started a whole discussion about who played with what.
Does this sound familiar?
 
My kids are young so my punishment was very simple.
After they picked up all the toys, they were not allowed to play with any toys for the rest of the day and the following day.
 
After a long while, on that same day, my daughter asked me all nicely if she could play with her barbie doll.
Usually here’s where I drop the ball, by becoming soft and let her play anyway because she’d been behaving well.
 
But this time I stood my ground and told her NO. The punishment still applied for the rest of the day and the next.
 
Upset
 
 
 
Then I sat her down and asked her why she thinks she got punished, whether she thought her previous actions were appropriate, and what she thinks she should have done instead?
Next I told her that everytime she acts up the choice would be up to her to either continue to behave well and be allowed to play with her toys again after her punishment is over. Or she could go ahead and misbehave and lose yet another day of fun playtime.

So now everytime she starts to act up and/or misbehave, I go back to these two choices, and without her having to think it over, she immediately chooses correctly.
How come?
Well now she knows that mommy stands her ground on punishments.

This currently works great for me. What works best for you?

XOXO,
 
marienne
 
 

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