Terrible twos, a much dreaded phase by both parents and their toddlers alike, is a challenging period of time where the todds attempt to assert their independence and preferences rather explicitly. For some, it could be meltdowns. For others, it would be ‘No’ this and ‘I don’t want’ that. Whatever the case, challenging authority, especially when it is deemed rude or unacceptable, needs to be corrected.
For an Asian society, many parents would believe in using the rod. Some would subscribe to TLC, talking it out and advising the child to change his ways. The kind of method one deploys, I feel, largely depends on the situation, as well as the child’s level of maturity. For my family, we do a mix of both, and more importantly, we make sure that the learning point gets through to J really clearly and resolve the misbehavior before a great big hug.
One of the many ways we have been using to cope with having J trying to cultivate a better awareness of good behaviour is having the Joash’s ‘Did it!’ Book. It was recommended by a friend, CT, whose daughter is also at the same phase as J.
This book contains pages of descriptions of expected good behaviour and J is rewarded with an attractive sticker on the very page when he does it right. The reward is dished out almost immediately to obtain an effect of affirmation and so far, it has been in ‘operation’ for the past month. So far so good! 🙂
Here are some snapshots of expected good behaviour we have been reinforcing.
Having a book that affirms good and responsible deeds has helped us a lot in being more effective parents. We see less scolding taking place and J takes more initiative in getting what is expected done, sometimes ahead of when he remind him. What started out as highly extrinsic has become intrinsic motivation. Hurray!
Of course, the lure of stickers has been working very well and every morning and before bed time, it’s J’s favourite time to recollect the right things he has done by flipping through the pages of this book and updating it together with us with more stickers.
This morning was exceptionally surprising for me. It felt as if the month’s long effort (and more to come) had started to pay off big time…
These were what J did:
1) Woke up earlier than I did… Came into the master bedroom, saw me sleeping and went back into his room to play quietly by himself.
2) Pooed in his diapers, came into my room only to see me still snoozing. Waited patiently by the bedside. Calmly told me ‘Mummy, wash my butt butt.’ when I woke with a startle.
3) Kept all his toys while I was preparing his milk.
4) Read and did colouring patiently at his blue IKEA table in the hall after his milk.
5) Wore his sandals and waited by the main door to go to school.
Wow! Such motivation could only be due to the constant reinforcement and encouragement and lots of prayer. They may seem very minor actions but to us, doing the right thing correctly is commendable for a 2.5 year old child. Terrible twos? Perhaps it needs to be called Terrific Twos, depending on how the child is being moulded from time to time.
After a bountiful reward of 9 stickers into his ‘Did it!’ Book, we went off happily to school. It was indeed a great start to the day.
This, I pray, for many more similar days to come. Looking forward to see more miracles in daily life!