Motivating for Chores

Part of motivation for chores for our buggies will be visual.  But today we’re going to talk about a verbal way to motivate them.

When we were younger, my mother used to have us sing a song when it was time to pick up our toys.  I use the same exact method today.  I don’t remember exactly where she got the song from, but it works.  It makes little buggies excited to clean, because they are cleaning to the song:

The Clean Up Song

Clean up clean up

Everybody everywhere

Clean up clean up

Everybody do their share

 

We repeat this song until we’re done picking up our toys, clothes, or whatever it is that is being cleaned up.  Not only do hesitant children start cleaning, they do it together, and they do it happily.  It is now a game that goes with a song.

Another thing we do for cleaning up, is have a race.  The winner gets to pick a movie, the first bath toy, or really whatever works.  Sometimes we use stickers to bribe them along as well.  We explain how we are going to work things out, what happens if they do what they are asked, and what happens if they do not.  Naturally, sometimes we all have bad days, so they do learn that they will receive repercussions if they do not do as they are told.

What about things that can’t be rushed?

Things that cannot be rushed would be like brushing your teeth.  If you speak to your dentist, they will give you many tips.  One thing we had gotten from our dentist was a sand timer.  The kind you flip, and when the sand collects at the bottom, you’re done brushing your teeth.  You could use a calming bottle, or any other fun looking timing device.

My favorite tool for brushing our teeth actually came from a Dora the Explorer book.  It is to the tune of the alphabet song, which pretty much everyone knows.

Scrub and Brush

Scrub and brush and scrub and brush

Hum a song so I don’t rush

Brush my teeth so they might shine

You brush yours and I’ll brush mine

Scrub and bush and scrub and brush

Hum a song so I don’t rush.

Repeat it twice and you’re done.  And, they love it.   They sing it around the house and everything.  They ask if their teeth are nice and shiny.  And those that still need you to do it for them are more pliable when you sing the song, meaning, they let you actually spend more time allowing you to get the toothbrush into their mouths.

Just to point out, quickly, I did not write either song, and I do not take credit for doing so.  I have, however, taken cue from this and created my own songs to help move stubborn children along.  Just this morning, Do and Belly Bug didn’t want to listen and put their shoes and socks on, so instead of yelling (which I really had the urge to do), so I made up a song:

Socks and shoes and socks and shoes

On my feet so I don’t bruise

Don’t hit my little toe, that hurts

Hopefully there’s no blood that squirts

Socks and shoes and socks and shoes

On my feet so I don’t bruise

Okay, okay, I know you’ve already noticed the blood part.  However, when you make things up like this it has to flow song wise as well as kid wise.  So, of course, Belly was just tickled about the blood part.  Don’t ask, because I really have no clue why she finds it funny, but she does.  Even more important part, it worked.  I sang a couple of times, and low and behold, they had socks and shoes on.  They are still singing the song right now.  We sing this repeatedly, and sing it to the tune of the alphabet song as well.

What are some examples of your motivational tools for your buggies?

Changing Behaviors

Last week I said I was going to start showing you some chore charts, however, I was inspired to write something else, that will help those things along in the process.  I want to talk about behavior, and banishing the negative behaviors in our children.  However, it isn’t going to start with them.  It’s going to start with us.

As with everything, change takes time, and with busy buggies, and our busy selves, we should introduce one thing at a time.  Diets don’t work because we change them short-term and start with a shock to the system by suddenly yanking away from the bad and attempting to get into the good.  The same can be said for behavior.  Taking things one day at a time, is easier to handle, and easier to introduce into our lives.

Address the Issues

What kind of behavior are your buggies doing, and WHY are they doing it?  You ever feel like all you are doing is yelling.  And you’ll hear the same thing over and over about consistency and patience.  But, have you ever thought about why they are behaving this way?  Yes, my buggies are busy, but what is the real reason behind their behaviors.  Are they doing it because they are curios, or do they want attention…and attention any way they can get it?

Our reactions are attention.  Good or bad, it is attention none the less.  Any child is going to want this from us.  They whine, we nag at them to stop, they throw a temper tantrum we have another nag, or send them to their rooms and keep doing so because they won’t stay.  Each thing gets in, on, and around each and every nerve we have and the next thing we know, we aren’t nagging anymore, we’re yelling.  We’re reacting, and it is still attention to that buggy.

So, we need to control our reactions.  But how, when that awful whining siren is going off in the background?  Well, just like we tune out our husbands (just kidding), we need to tune out that annoying sound. It won’t be a quick fix, and we will have to consistently have patience.  Try to concentrate at the task at hand.  Zone out in what you need to do.  Now, if there is an actual problem, then yes intervene.  However, if they are whining and carrying on just to get your attention, then let it go.  If they are bickering, give them a chance to work it out themselves.

When our children hear us nag, they see a valid reason to whine.  While we may not whine, it is the same thing, in a child’s eyes, as nagging.  When we yell and scream to get them to behave, we are teaching them the same.  I can tell when I’ve yelled too much, because Beanie starts doing the same thing with her sisters.

Redirect

A lot of the time, we can actually redirect the behavior.  For instance, my buggies like to play with the bath soaps.  Making bubbles, seeing the colors, smelling the different smells of the soaps.  Taking these things out of the bathroom is added work to me, and not teaching the buggies what is important.  There is a time and place to use these things, and a way to use them.  It’s our job to teach them.  Allowing them to use these things, when it is time, gives them the feeling of power in their decisions to use these.  Helping them along with those things, teaches them how to use them properly as well.washing-dishes-1112077_1920

Lately, some of the biggest things we do is trying to baby and kid proof things.  We spend all this time, money, and effort to change an environment sheltering our children from everyday life, that we don’t take the time to teach the reasoning’s behind what these things are.  In a busy child, this curiosity burns at them until they fulfill this urge to see what it is, what it does, and so on.  So, teaching them that certain soaps are used for cleaning certain things.  Big people soap will burn and can hurt buggies, and chemicals are used by big people when cleaning to kill all the yuckies that can make us sick.  We use them when it is needed and we know when to clean to keep those yuckies away.

In using our chore charts, we are giving our buggies a visual aide on when to use these things.  Also by allowing them to help us, they learn how to do it.  Explaining that there are only certain things to use, how, and when.  Giving them the tools they need, allows us a slight break from the norm, but also teaches our buggies many valuable skills.

Take A Break

Most of us are under the impression the only way we can take a break is to get away from it all.  That isn’t always the case.  Sometimes we need to let the laundry and dishes sit, and get out there and spend the time playing with those buggies.  That doesn’t mean you have to spend the money on new things.  Use what is there.  Sit and play blocks or Lego’s or Barbie’s.  Whatever the case is, sometimes what your kids need is you.

Sometimes we get so involved in cleaning and other daily issues, that we forget the most important thing every buggy needs.  Well, we all need it.  Love and time to show it.

Point Out The Goods

Don’t just focus on what is being done wrong.  Sit down and figure out what is causing the problem, explain why your buggy should not do it.  However, we also throw around naughty and bad oh so often.  Part of the reason we call some of our buggies is because it describes them in a way that is not negative.  There is nothing wrong with being a busy buggy, and realizing there is a reason behind it helps us to figure out why.  When we take the time to point out all the good things our buggies do, they will focus on doing them more often than the “naughty” things.baby-84626_1920

We, as parents, also need to remember, what they are doing isn’t necessarily naughty.  I’m a curious mommy.  I like to look things up and know why things work or how they do.  My buggies are the same way, however they are expressing their curiosity a bit differently than I do.   Part of that is because they cannot read.  So, they experiment, challenge boundaries, or anything that will teach them about what something is and what it does.  Their creativity and imagination allows them to look at things sometimes in an abstract way.  A basket to me, is something I use to gather things and take care of them.  A basket to my buggy is what I use it for, as well as a tiger cage, a climbing apparatus, the ringmaster’s stage, a mini fort, and so on.

When our buggies are experimenting with these things, we should explain why you shouldn’t use the basket to stand on.  What can happen and why and or how it happens.  However, don’t stop there.  Congratulate them on their creativeness and their imagination.  “Your imagination is wonderful, Belly, you play tiger so well, I almost thought you were a real one.”  This way you aren’t focusing on the negative.  I used this example, because I’ve actually said this….often.  As well as, “No-no, Belly, you can’t sit on the basket with Do Bug under it.”

Re-Cap

Basically, when we’re looking at behaviors.  Whether it is bad behavior or implementing changes like chores, we need to look at ourselves.  Our buggies look up to us.  They will mimic us in any way they can.  They want to be like us, and they want us to see they can be like us.  Address your issues first.  That worry bug may be worried because you may be exuding worry, yourself.  That busy bug may be doing naughty things because they want attention, and know they can get a rise out of you.  Or maybe they are just as curious as you are.  Figure the reason behind, and go from there.  Explain why you should or should not do things.  And, as always, make it consistent.  Be patient and calm.  You can do this.  And you’ll be amazed at the outcome.

Starting Your Buggy Chore Chart

First, let me apologize.  It has been a very busy week, and sometimes life happens.  However, I am sorry for not having new posts this week for you to read.

So, I have covered how to find out what your buggies can do and like to do.  Now it is time to start putting this together.  But, before you start putting your time into a chore chart, it is a good idea to get the routines and chores down.

Any change, especially for busy buggies, takes time.  So, if you have been having your buggy help you do your chores to see what they can do, you’re already halfway there.  The next is to start writing out what you want them doing on a daily basis.  You may want to change it up for them so that they can learn different things.  That could also help you tie in learning the days of the week.

Here at the buggy house, we work on small daily chores.  Things they can work into their daily routine.  Although, through sickness and down time…and sometimes Daddy Bug taking over and not realizing what he let them get out of…it is still an adjustment period here.

Why Should Buggies Do Chores?

Well, learning to do chores, teaches them respect for themselves and others.  It also teaches respect of property of their own and others.  It gives them a sense of self-confidence and accomplishment.  Chores teach work ethic and responsibility.  But, they also make our buggies feel good when they can help their mommies.

What Do Buggy Chores Do For Mommies?

Of course there is the obvious, it takes a bit of burden off of our heavy loads.  However, it teaches us as well.  One of the biggest things we take from this is learning to let go.  We learn to let our children grow and learn.  We also learn patience.  Allowing our buggies to learn independence through their chores makes us have to take a step back and allow them to do it their way regardless of how much it might bug us that they didn’t get the right shirt in the right drawer.  If you’re wondering, yes, that is something I have had to learn to deal with.

Break Down The List.

I start by making a list of what my buggies can do, what they like to do, and what they already do.  Once I’ve got my list, I write out sticky notes for each area of the house.  Yes, it bothers my husband a bit, as he walks around the house seeing sticky notes, but he is used to it by now.  It is how I remember things, and how I begin to organize to try to keep the overwhelming feeling at bay.

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Sticky Notes

If you are going through any depression, trying to introduce new things or new people, or are having other problems that have left you behind on everything (like me), then this can be very helpful process.  But you have to do something with it afterwards.

So, as I go through I write down what each buggy can do in each room, like their bedroom and bathroom.  It is important to keep things like brushing their teeth, hair, or other things that they should be doing in with their chores.  It becomes a part of the routine then.  Also, what may seem or look like a lot of chores becomes so much less when you work it into your daily routine.  For instance, bathroom chores, done in the morning while they get ready for school, or in the evening when they get ready for bed.  It makes it a more solid routine, teaches multi tasking, and saves on time.

Once you have your sticky notes, try it out for a few days.  See how things go.  Add things or take them away.  If you have a hard time getting them to follow through, don’t worry.  It doesn’t mean you need to have them do less, necessarily.  It may just take further encouragement.

Also, you will notice in the beginning, they LOOOOOVE doing chores.  Later on they may likely need a bit of encouragement.  But, then again, who doesn’t.  I need more encouragement to do dishes…although my encouragement is that if I don’t get them done I’ll have them stacked to the ceiling before I can blink my eyes.

Hang in there, and you will feel very accomplished soon.  You’ll start to notice that it is easier for you to find ambition and focus, when you need to teach your buggies just that.

Next week I’ll show you a couple different ways to encourage routines as, and later I will be back on chore charts as well as behavior.

If you have another way you like to organize your thoughts and chores before making your charts, leave me a comment below to share.

Buggies and Chores

Teaching our children chores, teaches them a lot of things.  It teaches them respect for their things as well as respect for those that belong to others.  It teaches them a work ethic.  It also teaches them to take pride in their accomplishments.  A sense of accomplishment leads to higher self-esteem, responsibility, and respect for oneself and others.

But, how do you decide what your children are ready and not ready to do?

Well, at a younger age, we can start by teaching our buggies to pick up after themselves.  From throwing a dirty diaper in the trash, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, and picking up their toys.  Many of these things start by showing the child how to do it, by doing it yourself, and bringing your buggy with you.  Teaching them where the trash is, where the hamper is, and where the toy box is.

After they know where these things are, every time they do it, should be a big deal.  We started teaching our buggies that it was great and fun to throw away their dirty diapers, after we changed them.  We started by showing where the yucky diaper goes.  Then we would race to the trash can.  And the winner receives wonderful compliments, clapping, and anything else that shows them that we are happy and proud of what they did.  Each of the family members participate in this, so that now, when Do Bug throws away her diaper, the whole family cheers her on.

We focus a lot, now a days, to use positive ways to discipline our children.  Funny thing is, that when we did things when we were younger that were life threatening, or just plain naughty, we got a spanking.  Everyone focused on the “bad” part of this, the physical end of a spanking.  What we don’t focus on is how each “good” thing was treated just like I’m describing now.  With encouragement and reinforcement of the positive behavior.  I’m not saying go out and spank your child for every little thing.  Fact is, that most of us that got spankings, didn’t get them often.  And, if they did, then the spanking lost meaning behind it.  Also, that wonderful spanking for beating up your little sister, do seem a bit silly in my book.  (Yes, I was the child that got a spanking for that.)  However, it did make me think twice about doing it again.

If we took more time on focusing on the things our children did well, and praising them for it, there would be less of a reason to worry about the punishment end.  Although it will not take it out entirely, however, that differs from child to child as well.  How does this work with chores?  If we spent less time being frustrated and upset about how our children did NOT do their chores, and more time praising them for doing those chores, we’d be less frustrated.  By praise, I mean exactly that.  The reason a child should do their chores should not be solely restricted to monetary value.  Same as a spanking, shoving money or toys or other bribing techniques in daily things, leaves them wanting more and expecting more, just because they didn’t leave dirty clothes on the floor.

When I was a little one, we didn’t get allowance, because there were just too many kids to try to do that.  However, we all had chores.  We did them every day, and we had consequences if we didn’t do them.  Which, often, was more chores.  At my father’s house it was the dreaded weed pulling in the back garden…it took forever.  It was also to be done AFTER we finished our normal chores which could mean pitching the barn, down to the dishes.  However, if we wanted to do things, like sports, or go to the movies with our friends, we weren’t dependent on our allowances either.  We didn’t get to do these things often, however, we still got to do them.  We were rewarded in other ways, adding a new animal or spending time with our friends.

This was all started when we were younger.  We didn’t start at 2 and 3 pitching the barn or anything like that.  However, it surely was a fun game to go and collect eggs with daddy or go slop the pigs with mommy.  Even if slopping the pigs meant getting all dressed up, trying to drag a bucket, and ending up watching our parents do the actual job.  We still helped where we could, and were taught through example and encouragement.  We sang songs to remind us to clean up our toys and how to work together.  And we all participated.  We took pride in each thing we did, and now that we’re grown up, it’s our job to teach our children those.fall-678492_1920

Not everyone grew up the same, and it makes me sad to have to point out that there are more than there should be, that grew up with cruelty and neglect.  Because no child should ever have to endure that.  However, if you didn’t grow up in a similar way, and you did grow up with cruelty, then you get the opportunity to change that this time around.  And, trust me, hearing your two-year old clean up her toys, and sing the clean up song is more than words can describe.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve suggested writing lists, involving your buggies in your chores, and just seeing what they are ready for.  Some children need a bit of encouragement.  Some just need the right kind of encouragement.  My buggies like to do the dishes.  Now, they aren’t quite big enough to do them, but they think they do a great job.  And, I applaud them the whole way through.  I guide them in what they should do, and we take turns on who is going to rinse while mommy washes.  It becomes a game, as well as family time.  Beanie and Belly Bug now know how to sweep the floor, and they actually fight over who’s turn it is to sweep.  So, we switch things up a bit so everyone can get a turn.  Also, this teaches team work as well as different skills.  In the younger buggies, they love it.  The responsibility to clean up their bathroom makes them empowered to do it more on their own.  Which means less time I have to spend on my hands and knees cleaning up who knows what next.broom-24266_1280

After you’ve spent some time figuring out what your buggies can do and like to do, THEN come up with a chore chart.  Work things around, for what works for you.  We still hold toys hostage, for when they are just not in the mood to take care of their things.  However, they have the opportunity to get it back with good behavior.  Explaining all of the rules on how to do chores all the way to what will happen if they do not do their chores is very important.  This helps keep even the busiest buggy well-informed of their consequences.  The trick is to stick with it.  It isn’t easy to start off, especially if you are going from no responsibility to a full 180 into chores and the like.  It takes time to work chores into their schedule.  But the refocusing helps tremendously.

What are some of your ideas for chores?  Leave me a comment below to let me know how you’ve worked chores in with your buggies.

Mama Says

With children, in general, they like to do the things that we do.  In their little minds, we are superheroes.  Therefore, everything we do, they want to do as well.  That means how we walk, talk, sit, stand, speak…everything.  This has good and bad consequences.

The Bad

If you are having problems with your busy buggy, and you yell, scream, pout, etc…they will do the same.  If you are irritable for whatever reason, they will also mimic this.  With some buggies, if you ask them why they are doing it, they will out right tell you they got it from you.  (That would be something my Belly Bug tells me.)

This goes the same for the potty mouth.  If you cuss like a sailor, a trucker, or whatever explains your excessive potty mouth, you will end up noticing that they come out of your buggies mouths too.  And, I can promise you that if you’re sitting in the middle of a restaurant with your grandfather, it will come out then.

When Beanie was much younger, and Belly was just an infant, we learned this the hard way.  We thought that we had stopped enough, or only said swears where she couldn’t hear.  In the mean time, we often said things like, “What The!!!”  And would leave it like that, thinking we didn’t cuss, so it wouldn’t be a big deal.  When she was even younger, we figured she didn’t hear us or didn’t understand.  But, lo and behold, in the middle of KFC, we had gone out with my grandfather.  We were talking about something, although I do not remember what it was.  I happened to react with a what the, and boy oh boy, loud as can be, Beanie finished my unfinished phrase and dropped the F bomb right there in front of everyone.

My grandfather was very angry about this, and I made it worse, because I laughed.  Now, I didn’t laugh because it was funny.  It wasn’t at the time.  But, I was nervous and embarrassed, so it was that kind of laugh and it is often misinterpreted.  So, moral to the story, everything we do AND say, at any time could be picked up by our buggies.  Even when you think you’ve curbed it or just don’t think you do it where they can hear.  A buggy can hear around corners, through walls, and in their sleep.  It’s like a superhuman sense that we don’t seem to catch on to until they are older.

The Good

So, we know the downsides and possibilities of downsides, what about the upside?  Well, I’ve talked about chores, in past posts, for your buggies.  And, often we do not know where to start with these.  However, our buggies will pick up our habits as well.  So, if you are constantly washing dishes, like I am, then you may notices your buggies pushing chairs up to help you or want to take over entirely.washing-dishes-1112077_1920

By letting your buggy help you with your daily chores, you will learn what they can and cannot do.  You will learn their limitations, and how well they handle the rest as well.  Eventually you will be able to tell them to do a specific chore, and smile and revel in the fact that it is one less thing you have to do yourself.

Also, when your older buggies handle things like, taking care of their clothes, putting away dirty clothes, picking up toys, and sweeping; the younger buggies will want to do the same.  And, just because they may not do it well, does not mean they shouldn’t do it.  I often sweep beside my buggies and, “do the job together,” making them feel well, and clobbering that horrible urge to correct them.  The worst thing you could do at a young age is discourage them because they didn’t do it your way, which is the right way.  Instead we should encourage them in the way to do it by leading or learning to let go of certain things.

One thing that my two older buggies do is put away their clean laundry.  Oh boy, I about had a cow the first time I opened the drawers right after I let them do it.  It wasn’t at all tidy.  Half of them were no longer folded, and they surely weren’t in the proper drawer.  I had to stop myself from redoing the entire dresser in front of them.  I did, however, nicely explain that they do need to keep the laundry folded so that it fits better into the drawers, and we should try to keep things in the same drawers so we can find our clothes better.  I even went as far as to label what went in which drawer.

Although the labels helped the oldest bug, the middle buggy didn’t seem to have a care, and she could find what she wanted provided she wanted to do it.  So, again, sometimes we have to let go.  We have to realize that there are some things we can teach and direct, but not everything is going to be exactly as perfect as we think it should go.  Breathing room and growing room is required for independence.  And, so long as they are not trying to claim the toilet as their dresser drawer, then really, socks and underwear may just end up in the same drawer.

So…

While you are trying to clean and tidy up, do spring cleaning, rearrange rooms, and all of your basic chores, let those buggies help.  It may take a bit longer, but it teaches both us, the parent,  and them, the buggies, how to work through things.  Eventually, you will be able to sit back and enjoy yourself a bit more often, as they learn to do more and more each day.  It teaches them many things from independence, respect, work ethic, and more.

I’m definitely not saying you now have free slave labor.  However, regular chores are a good thing to start with your buggies, even at a young age.

Good Luck, and tell me how it went.

 

All Together Now

We’ve gone over High Maintenance Baby, The Busy Bug, and The Worry Bug.  However, how would it be to have all three or two of the three?

Not all that long ago, I had all three types.  Today I have two of the three.  Beanie is my worry bug. Belly and Do Bugs are my busy bugs.  So, how do you handle two of the buggies zipping through the house while the other one is crying or anxious about one thing or another, as well as the two tearing through the house like mad buggies.

As Beanie has gotten older, she has finally gotten her own room.  Which puts both of the busy buggies in one room.  For me, because they are generally of a sunny nature and get along fairly well, it has been working out great.  The problem we were running into, is that Beanie Bug is going into the phase where she is learning anger and how to let it out…on her sisters that is.  Although she has yet to stand up for herself with anyone else outside of her house, she is now getting to the point that, when she has had enough, she snaps on her sisters.

To teach her how to deal with her anxiety blow ups, we teach her to use her words and not her hands, feet, fingers, nails, or teeth.  (Yes, I said teeth.)  And to use her words.  Then when words do not work, she should come and tell mommy or daddy.  On the other end, when she gets upset and turns anger onto her siblings, I use the cool down technique.  Similar to a time out, however, she often puts herself there (now) when she feels she is getting to that point.

Allowing her to have her own room has given her an outlet that she hadn’t had prior.  When things are too loud, too fast, or there are just too many people, she can retreat to her own room and not allow the anxious items in.  Then she turns to her writing and coloring.  She stays in there anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes of her own accord.  When she comes out, she is bright and sunny once again.

At younger ages, putting the two types together builds a bond, so that when things are too much, they cling to each other.  Both, the busy bug and the worry bug are actually very much alike, in my experience.  The worry bug just takes a bit longer to warm up to things, and instead of being loud and crazy, she is internalizing a lot.

Introducing structure, schedule, and consistency into all these types of buggies is highly recommended.  By doing these things, it gives them things to focus on, and a limit of time to focus them so that they can be constructive during the day.  Any time their schedules get out of tune, you will notice the change in your buggies, because they will act out more often than what they do with a schedule.

It is difficult to get these types of buggies into a schedule. It is hard work to instill these into the younger buggies as well.  However, persistence is the key, and once that schedule is made, you will notice life functions oh so much easier than prior to it.

Potty Success Chart

Same thing for discipline.  The best advice I have ever gotten was from a friend of mine.  If you aren’t going to follow through with something, then don’t say it.  So, for myself, Belly Bug LOVES school.  And threatening to take that away from her so she will behave, if you were not going to follow through is not a good thing.  It may work for a while, but once they realize that you won’t follow through, they will call and test your bluff at every corner.

Remember, each child is different, but many stages are very similar and do repeat often through their lives.  If we stay consistent and follow through, we are more likely to be successful with the discipline.

But, what if they are doing it just to get attention?

Sometimes with a busy bug, they will do things just to get attention.  Any kind of attention is what they are looking for, so it doesn’t matter if it is good or bad.  It doesn’t matter if you have dedicated time solely to them, there are just times that they go through this.

Just like a worry bug, this is a great time for a cool down period.  I’ve noticed with my busy buggies, they do this more often if their schedule is messed up in the slightest way.  It can often turn into a tantrum, and what happens is we give in.  “Fine, mommy will rock you to sleep,” or, “Fine, you can sleep in my bed just tonight.”  These aren’t the only times they do it, but it is a great example.

So, allowing them cool off time in a safe place, gives them the time to let out that tantrum, and get back to being able to tell you what is bothering them, instead of acting out.

When Belly Bug gets this way, she will often start screaming and crying the first or second time you tell her not to do something.  If she has not fallen into the full-out atomic melt down, I give her a choice.  She can either follow the rules, or she will have to go to bed. Or sit in her bedroom, or get a naughty pebble….whatever the case is.  (I’ll explain the naughty pebble at a different time.)

If she has reached the atomic melt down, we simply pick her up as safely as is possible.  (Most of the time that is safety for the parent that picked her up so you don’t fall prey to a flailing limb or even the occasional accidental head but.)  We then take her to her room and set her in her bed.  Now, as parents, we often get frustrated.  Praying for patience is something I do often.  Because when they hit that point of the tantrum or melt down, we do NOT want to do the same.  Sometimes it makes it easier to narrate everything you are going to do in the most calm voice you can, not just for them, but mostly for yourself.  That way you are verbally reminding yourself to try to keep calm and have as much patience that you can muster up.

What about those days when all of them are on the fritz?

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There are days, for all of us, that are just bad days. Maybe we didn’t sleep well.  Maybe we don’t feel well, or maybe we just got up on the wrong side of the bed.  Which must hurt for my buggies since their beds are against the wall.  So there are just those days.

Here at the buggy house, it happens a lot, when we all get cabin fever.  Stuck in the house, can’t leave, can’t send them outside.  Whatever it is, it almost seems like World War III has rampaged through my house, and I’m at my wit’s end, because the buggies have stopped listening and I can’t keep up with the tornado they have run through the house, let alone the basic chores.

On these days I use two things.  I let my buggies know that mommy cannot take much more, and we all need some quiet time.  I try to explain (calmly), how I feel so they can learn to express their feelings the same way.  Our children learn to do the things that we do, say the things we say.  So trying to explain to them calmly that you have reached your limit, also teaches them to do the same, when they feel the same.

Quiet time for us, is like, “Back to your corners, fellas.”  However, we use quiet time for nap time as well.  The difference is, they can play and watch T.V. in their room for the quiet time, when mommy needs a breather.  Nap time, quiet time, is no T.V. and for the bugs that aren’t doing naps, books or coloring.

It gives everyone time to settle, so that we can come together again, with a calmer attitude.

The other thing is to hand off duties to another parent.  So, if we’ve had a rough day at home, when daddy gets home I may ask him to take over.  I then retreat to my room, with the door closed, and take my break.  I may write, read, take a bath, or craft something.  I work through, then rejoin my pack.

Sometimes, taking a step away, to regain your composure, is the best thing you can do.  Also, the necessity to take a step away does not make you any lesser of a parent.

Reminder!

I am not a professional.  I can only offer what I’ve experienced myself.  If ever there is a question, seek professional help.  Asking for help does not make you any lesser of a parent.  It does not make you weak in any way.  Sometimes, an outside look in, is the best approach.  Speaking to your doctor or another professional, or even asking your parents and grandparents, can give you a refreshing view of what you may be missing.

Leave me a comment to share your thoughts and experiences below.  I’d love to hear some new tips for combining the busy bugs, worry bugs, and high maintenance babies.

Tips N Tricks For Your Worry Bug

So you have a worry bug…

You go shopping and you can tell she is interested but at the same time she is quivering on the verge of crying.  A family event brings on waterworks and shear fear.  And forget leaving this buggy even at her grandparents house to spend the night.  And when school comes???  OMG!!!

The worry bug is one of those buggies that you have to really balance their glass heart and a bit of tough love.  They are smart buggies, but the slightest upset to their world causes World War III tantrums or worse…the Atomic Meltdown…nuclear-weapons-test-67557_1920

How do you deal with this buggy.  Well, I’ll tell you there are times where the busy buggy is much easier to handle than the worry bug.  At least you can send them out to play and not worry that they are sitting off to the side crying because no one will play with them but they are too terrified to make friends.

Beanie Bug is just such a bug.  When we first moved to where we live now, the environment was much different.  There was a safe place to play right outside our door AND TONS of kids to play with.  Every kid’s dream, right?  Wrong.  She often sat on the porch steps, watching the other kids play, and cried.  No one was ever mean to her, but it was one of those things that if no one played with her she would cry, but she would cry if someone would approach her.

What I ended up doing was going out with them, and while Belly Bug was content to make friends and run about on whatever adventure they had invented, I played with Beanie.  I started small with kicking the soccer ball, and inviting others to play.  Eventually she was fine, so long as I was right there.  Then little by little I would have to run in to go potty.  Go check on the sleeping baby.  Forgot something was on.  And so on.

I really had to work her up to the right spot.  Yes, she had times where it was hard, but we worked through it.  Once she was comfortable with her new play mates, she was right up there with Belly Bug and no problem.  By then, if a new child had come around, she was now comfortable with her other friends to not have a melt down to the change.

Some things that a worry bug has problems with:

  • Change of any kind
  • Starting school
  • Leaving mommy
  • Staying over night
  • Random Emotions
  • Change of any kind
  • Real loss
  • Emergency Situations

All of these things are stressful to anyone, but to the worry bug these are all monumental.  The tiniest thing could mean the world to her, and we have to teach her to balance it.

Every change, before, during, and after, needs to be fully explained to this little buggy.  And each change takes time to adjust.  When Beanie Bug started Kindergarten this year we spent months preparing her.  She was going from always being with mommy to all day school during the week and an hour bus ride to school as well as an hour bus ride home.

We had thought she was going to one school, but last-minute and without notice to me, they changed her school.  So that caused a mini melt down.  Meanwhile, as I was preparing her for all this I had to decide how to handle the first day of school.  Do I drive her or just get her on the bus.  With much consultation with many different family members, I decided to go with my step mother and my grandmother on my father’s side, information.  This was just get her on the bus to minimize her discomfort.  That way she had only one adjustment, instead of learning to go to school, and then learning to ride the bus as well.

It took a month for Beanie to adjust, and I got notes at the end of the week letting me know she had cried.  Those notes went from, “cried every day all day,” and dwindled down to, “had a great week and no crying at all.”  And this mommy was so excited about the success in the change.

I’ve learned that with the worry bug, she also needs some alone time.  When things get to be too much, she needs a quiet place to get away from all the buzz.  This limits the tantrums and meltdowns.  And the comfort of knowing she can do it prevents many as well.

One thing to keep in mind.

This kind of buggy needs to have things explained, but shouldn’t be babied at the same time.  And always remember, we cannot do it all.  Sometimes we need to get help.  Meaning, if these things are too intense for your buggy YOU NEED TO TAKE HER TO A DOCTOR OR A COUNSELOR!

As mommies, we may make the mistake of taking it all on us.  But, sometimes we all need help.  The last thing you need to do is go into an anxiety attack because this will feed into your buggy.  When you’re sad, she will be sad.  If you’re mad, she will be mad.  But we are adults and can handle these emotions mostly.  That isn’t always the case for our buggies, and we need to teach them the best way to handle them.  So, sometimes teaching her to handle them means talking to your doctor.

I did consult my doctor about her anxieties, and was advised to work with her slowly, and if it wasn’t getting better or even got worse, then it was time to send her to a counselor.

Quick recap:

  • Listen to your buggy, watch to see her reactions.  Let her know  teach her how to deal with it.
  • Prepare for change before, during, and after.  Be patient with your buggy because her adjustment will take longer.  And get involved (or don’t get involved in some cases) with the change.  We can’t always be there to help them make a friend.
  • Encourage her and tell her that you’re proud of her.  Tell her when you’re happy, and tell her it is okay to be sad sometimes too.  All of her emotions are important.  And give her good ways to vent them out constructively.
  • Ask for help.  Whether it is from family members who have been there and done that.  A friend who has gone through the same.  Or a doctor of any sort when things get too difficult, especially.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell other people how to react when the tantrum or meltdown happens.  You’d be surprised to see that many other people want to be told how to approach her during these times.
  • Finally, don’t punish yourself.  Take joy in the fact that you are going to have a wonderful, loving, caring, empathetic buggy when she grows up.  And, trust me, we need more of that in this world.princess-558825_1280

As always, you are not alone in this journey.  Many of us are going through it right now, or have gone through it.  On a high note, my Beanie Bug manages school very well and is a role model in her class.  She does wall and wants to do more.  She has made many, many friends, and continues to make more.  She is also learning to make friends with that shy buggy off in the corner.  She’s even starting to get very sassy (yes, poor mommy…and daddy.)

Leave me a comment, and let me know how your journey with your worry bug has gone or is going.