(photo from the most special WildBird shoot last Fall!)
I have been dying to start this new series. Mainly because this mama sure loves ALL the perspective when it coms to parenting. In the end I always tweak and go with what is right for each of my girls, and also feels right in my gut but it alway feels so good to hear how others have overcome whatever I am going through. And maybe it feels better to simply know I am not alone. Right?
So this series is 5 different mamas answering one question, (I'll rotate who the mamas are and try to include a variety). My hope is to help one or a few of you going through something similar. Because sometimes this little mama gig can be both exhausting and isolating but it doesn't have to be. This series is to bring us together and make it a little easier to get some of the tough moments.
So onto my first question of the series!
What do I do when my new Kindergartener is copying all the fresh behavior from other schoolmates?
Kelly, work from home mom in the suburbs of Massachusetts of 1month old baby boy & Almost 3 year old girl.
"I guess gut would be to follow the Janet Lansbury approach of setting the clear limit and remaining unruffled/unemotional (aka not getting upset yourself) while she rides out the meltdown/tantrum.
When she is calm maybe a conversation about why the limits are set and helping her understand every family is different and these are the expectations in your house for keeping everyone happy, healthy and safe. And no matter what those rules do not change, no matter what other friends do or how upset they get or how they may act toward their parents/caretaker.
I would also try to create intentional "yes space" in the day. Even like an actual set amount of times that you count in your head unannounced) where you can let her lead.
This is all part of the transition of Kindergarten, new kids, different class rules and remember that she is just adjusting too it all still. It's all fresh and if you stay CONSISTENT she will turn the corner. There is no timetable to how long it takes kids to adjust and for some it just takes longer. And sometimes it does mean limiting time with the kids that she is mimicking, which I know is so HARD!"
(thank you kelly!! such a great reminder!)
Alex, NYC Mom of (almost 5year old) Kindergartener
I’m having the same problem with sophia coming home and “trying on” new (bad) behaviors, be it with words, facial expressions, tone, etc… after several failed reactions of shock, anger, and shame, I realize that that is all she is doing - trying it on.
I remind myself she’s five so she doesn’t understand the full meaning of what she is mimicking. I’ve found if i remain calm and non-plussed in my response and simply explain to her the why - it is not polite, or those are not words our family uses, or that a particular behavior can make someone else feel sad - she gains a better understanding of what she has said/done and why she shouldn’t say/use it.
I try to remind myself to respond in the same tone as if she came home and announced we live in Seattle, my response wouldn't be to get angry or to shame her, it would be to simply and unemotionally correct her, “no sweetie, we don’t live in Seattle, we live in new york city.” then I pour myself a drink, take a Xanax and pray that God has mercy on me when she is a teenager!
(omg I love you Alex!!)
Ana Working Mom of 2 (age 1 and 4)
I'm very transparent with Alecia and we do a lot of talking (things through) and modeling together. I tend to always revert back to the same thing, no matter what bad behavior (or out of character behavior)we are going through, I let her know how certain actions (or words) can hurt mommy and daddy.
I also remind her that there are proper ways to communicate and how she is communicating is not appropriate or making mommy or daddy proud. She usually understands and because she wants to please us will usually correct her behavior.
Abigail, Boston Nanny & Sitter to various ages, currently Full Time to two toddlers (ages almost 4 and 2.5)
In my position I am usually spending a lot of time with the children but I am not a parent so there is A LOT of pushing boundaries and seeing what they can get away with. My approach is always the same, I am clear with my expectations (even with the young ones!) with our house rules and we try and concentrate a ton on the good behavior, "what a great helper you have been during dinner" "you are being such a great big sister by sharing your toy" and when it isn't going so well we talk about our rules, and how I expect them to behave so that everyone can be safe.
It can be tricky when these expectations are set by everyone (parents, teachers, nannies) so getting everyone on board with the house rules is a great idea. Oh and star charts!!! They are never too young to not get excited about rewards so I always introduce a star chart to each family I work with.
(this is so true, everyone has to really be on board with the expectations for sure!)
Millie New Jersey Mama of two, a 5 year old Kindergartener and almost 2 year old.
We went through this both for PreK and again this year in Kindergartener, I am even seeing my almost 2 year old mimicking her big brother's behavior. So we pulled out a behavior chart, one very specific to the issues we are having but only using positive things on the actual board. For example our top issues are words we don't use, tantrums to get his way at any given time and whining through every meal or chore.
Mind you I know that these are normal kid behaviors but we did not see them until a few weeks into school and after volunteering in his classroom I know that it's copied behavior from specific kids. I jumped right into writing out the behavior chart: Only Using Kind Words, Using Our Big Kid Words, Being a Big Helper, Being A Kind Brother, Only Got Asked Once To Do something.
We do not take stars away but concentrate on the positive and give stars overtime something positive is happening. At first I was quick to point out losing stars but learned that celebrating the good was our best bet and not humiliating him for the setbacks.
Another huge win for us was writing out the house rules. We talk a lot about what our family does, how we act and writing out the rules and going through them every morning or whenever necessary is super helpful for this age. Parenting is hard and you should know you are NOT alone.
(what a great idea, going to create a behavior chart and get our family rules printed out)
It's so funny because in every single aspect of parenting advice that I've gotten (or read) has usually pointed to a few of the same things, be consistent, be patient, don't take things too personally as they are just tiny little humans testing things out, set expectations for you and them, and try and concentrate on the positive.
At least that is what I get from all of these points of view and gosh it's so helpful. Even in the last few weeks it has been super helpful for me. I am going to be creating a behavior star chart for the girls and be consistent in how reward. I'll tune back into this and maybe share our family rules and behavior star chart if you guys would like that!
I want to hear from you guys!!!! Send in your parenting question here!