Discipline stinks, both giving and receiving. Why not avoid the frustration that leads to discipline in the first place? Here’s how.
We can significantly reduce how often we have to put on our disciplinarian hat by putting one simple concept in place — family rhythms. It may sound too good to be true, but I promise, it’s not. We’ve been working on this in our family for a while now and Tim and I have seen some of the rough edges of life with kids start to smooth out.
The easiest place to start with this is to choose an area that is currently difficult for your family. Once you determine what the problem is that you want to solve, identify the negative emotions or actions this issue elicits. Finally, you establish a rhythm that provides a better chance for success. When you do this, you remove most of the circumstances that end up with you needing to discipline your kids. Let me give you an example.
Every day we require that Man Cub and Tiny have some down time. They don’t have to sleep, but they do have to go into their rooms and have quiet time alone. This is for the sanity of everyone in the household.
They have time to regroup and quiet down (and sleep if they’re tired) and Tim and I have time to get our own stuff done (and more importantly NOT answer questions!). But it seemed like this resulted in fits, tantrums, whining, sighing every. Single. DAY.
Worse yet, they’d be constantly yelling from their rooms, “CAN I COME OOOUUUUTTT?!” which would start another round of complaining and then require discipline. Yeah, because that’s how we want to spend our afternoons, right? Sigh.
Chill time was our pain point. Frustration and irritation were the negative emotions. So, we established new rhythms around chill time.
Rhythms don’t require scheduling, but sometimes it’s useful. In this particular case, we decided that 1:30-3:00 each and every day is chill time. Ninety minutes is plenty of time for everyone to calm down, rest up and feel rejuvenated.
This has altered the rhythms of our life time some extent in that I don’t schedule any appointments or outings that will interfere with this window of time. On occasion it happens, but I avoid it whenever possible. And if it does, it is a calculated decision, not an oversight or inconsistency.
This consistency has been key in calming down the entire process. The kiddos know it’s coming and know they’ll have plenty of time to play and explore later. This got rid of so many arguments that in the past would have required discipline.
The other problem I talked about was the constant asking to get out. To help with this we make sure the kids have a way of knowing when their time is up. Man Cub has a clock and knows when he can come out. For Tiny it was a bit more difficult as she can’t tell time yet. Tim got her a digital timer that we set for 90 minutes. He also removed the beeper so that it won’t wake her up if she falls asleep. When the timer says 0:00, she can come on out. Tiny got into the rhythm of setting her timer so quickly it was awesome!
We’ve been using this system for months now. While I won’t say there are never issues, they are rare. Now there’s barely ever a need for us to punish anyone for mouthing off or having a fit. It’s just a seamless part of life for the most part.
We’ve used a similar approach with chores as well as incorporating outside time into the kids’ days. Rhythms are to discipline what preventative medicine is to disease — a wonderful way to head off discomfort and trouble. Rhythms are awesome!
What are some of your biggest pain points in daily life with your kids? What negative emotions and/or actions do they cause? Start envisioning some new rhythms your family can put in place surrounding these pain points and head off the discomfort of discipline. Your days’ rough edges can be so much smoother!
Believer in better living through timers