Carefree Blonde

Monday, September 10, 2018

5 Positive Reinforcement Phrases to Start Using On Your Kids Today


I want to be a good person. I want to be the type of person people like to be around and can count on. I also want to raise kids to be good people and it can be hard to know if you're doing it right or what are the things I'm saying that are going to stick? What are the things my kids are going to remember? Am I patient enough? The list of parenting questions, mom guilt, and stresses of daily life with raising kids goes on.




As a newish parent (of 3 years now) I am reminded on a daily basis that this parenting thing is not a one size fits all black and white kind of deal. One of my more recent "Ah-Ha!" moments was when Ty was in time out for something I told him not to do and if he did, he would go in time out. As any toddler would, he waited not even two seconds before doing EXACTLY what I said not to. Timeout he went.

Now I do believe in doing things out of principle. I told you no, and that there would be a consequence for not listening. You did it after the warning, so now its time for timeout. In this particular instance, I had a random thought of why is he in time out again? Was he doing something he shouldn't be doing or was I just not wanting to deal with whatever it was? Is timeout really necessary right now or am I on a power trip? How do you know when to stick to your guns out of principle and when to lighten up because it's really not a big deal? In this particular situation I let Ty out of timeout and I think I even said I shouldn't have put him in there and apologized.

I'm sure reading this there are about half of you that are thinking why would you do that!? Mom said no, you didn't listen, timeout, stick to your guns mom!!! I understand that some people are the out of principle regardless of the situation and some may be a little more flexible. That's the wonderful thing about parenting. I'm sure some people look on at my parenting and may like certain things and really dislike other things that I do. You as parent can take the pieces you like and start incorporating them today and ignore the rest. I have this visual in my head right now of a Vegas Style buffet of all the different parenting flavors and varieties. Load up on what looks good for you and skip over the rest!

Below are 5 positive parenting quotes I've either heard from parents, read in an article/program, or even come across in social media. These are things I say almost on the daily now and I just think it's a positive way of getting your message across.




1. "Good Decision"

I heard this at a Cinco de Mayo party where all the kids were running around and getting close to a hole sectioned off by caution tape at the park. Some parents yelled for their kids to get away, come back, or etc. I would say about half maybe listened. One of my girlfriends very calmly called for her daughter to come back (even though the other kids were running away) you could see the desire for her to continue chasing her friends. Her mom said "Make a good decision." Then to my amazement this sweet little girl ran over to her mom. As soon as she got to her, the mom got on her daughter's level and said "Good Decision." 

K a few things I loved about this moment and is the reason I use it daily. One. We don't say bad boy or anything like that when Ty makes a bad decision. For that exact reason. The decision may have been bad but he is not, and I never want to give him the idea that he is. Two. I want him to know I recognize his good decisions. There have been several times I've called for him, reminded him to make a good decision, and when he does, I acknowledge him "Good Decision". Sometimes I'll say something along the lines of "Good Decision! I know you wanted to go play but you listened to mom first time and that is so important. Thank You!" Three. Success breeds success. When they notice your excitement and happiness by you expressing that to them, they are going to continue wanting to get that result.  Seeing Ty smile when I praise his decisions just melts my heart. I want him to want to do things to make mommy happy rather than do something so mommy won't get mad. Both hopefully get him to do the right thing but the reasoning behind is so important to me.

Ty is still three. He does not listen every single time. I hope that was inferred.

2.  "He Has a Good Idea Too"

To get out of the house and do something fun, we went to Catch Air. This is filled with slides, jungle gyms, ball pits, a dance floor. A little bit of everything so you can imagine it's quite a popular spot. A dad and his son were lining up big foam cubes across the floor and his son was carefully stepping on each one like they were stepping stones over hot lava. Ty noticed this and wanted to join in so he picked up one of the last foam blocks and ran to the front and added it to the line of next steps. The little boy looked at his dad like "Hey! get him!" Just as I was about to grab Ty to go do something else (bc they were there first) the dad said, " Oh wow, look Johnny! ( I have no idea what his son's name was. Naturally Johnny is the first thing that comes to mind.) ... anyways.... "Oh wow, look Johnny, he has a good idea too!" The little boy then started picking up blocks with ty making new paths.

What an amazing thing to learn at a young age. Everyone has different ideas, and everyone has good ideas. That dad could have easily just said it's ok let him play, or lets play something else, or I could have (and had my hand on his arm about to) take him to a different activity. Several options. None of them bad, but what an amazing moment to choose to make that a learning opportunity. Since then, Eric and I have tried incorporating a similar language. We try to let Tyson know that he has good ideas (when he wants to play a certain game or even when getting creative with play dough). When other people want to play with him or change something. Instead of just redirecting Ty, my goal is to first try and use it as a learning moment to be open to someone else's ideas too.



3. "Ohmans Can Do Hard Things"

A sweet friend of mine was recently over to let the babies play so we could catch up. During our conversation she mentioned how her daughter was just having a hard time her first week of kindergarten. As a parent our natural instinct is to protect and shelter our kids. To see them having a hard time can be devastating. This little girl has such a precious demeanor and is just so nurturing to her younger siblings, so I just felt for my friend as she was saying how hard it was to see her little girl struggle. One night before school she had a talk with her daughter and reminded her that they are the "Zirkle Family" and Zirkles can do hard things. Even though school is hard you can do this.

After she said that I knew it needed to go in that mental storage for a later day. A few weeks later queue later day. Ty out of no where kept saying "I can't do it." There would be a toy on the ground....right in front of him... He would ask me to get it for him and when I told him he needed to get it. "But I can't do it." It started to become I can't for EVERYTHING. Now every time we hear our little guy "I can't" something, we first have him say I can try and then we finish because we are Ohmans and Ohmans can do hard things! Our kids are going to grow and face bigger and harder obstacles. Start now with small challenges to show them if they work hard they can figure it out. If they really can't. They can at least try and learn that even if they can't, they at least put their best foot forward. Failure isn't the end.

4. "Time to Talk About Our Rules"

Before Tyson was born we were introduced to a program Moms on Call. Best Parenting program ever! This has helped us on soooooo many levels. We love it so much that we typically buy the first book for Eric's clients that are about to be new parents. I have introduced it to several friends who without fail say they wish they would have known about it sooner. To give you an idea, they cover everything from sleeping, eating, tantrums, potty training, time outs and etc. I love it. You can find their first book here. (They also have online courses and in some areas someone that can come to your home)

In the toddler book there is a section that talks about family rules and the importance of going over them each night. Keep it simple in three main categories that all of the small stuff can easily fit into. We go over these every night right before bed as a routine and I have been so blown away with how Tyson has referenced these rules in different situations. Our family rules are below.

1. We always listen to mommy and daddy first time

2. Instead of saying "I can't", we say " I can try", because we are Ohmans and Ohmans can do hard things.

Two things about rule number two. 1. In the book this rule is actually "We never hurt ourselves" I used this in our family rules for a long time but this isn't an issue for Tyson so we switched it out for something that was becoming an issue. 2. This rule was sparked by our friends who said "Zirkles can do hard things." I love this and I love that it is now a family rule so whenever Tyson says "I can't" or doesn't want to take medicine or whatever it is, we remind him of our rule and most of the time he does whatever it is.

3. We never hurt other people, because we are Ohmans and Ohmans are nice to people.

After going over each rule I'll try to recall from the day what he did that was good and one thing that we need to work on tomorrow. It is the CUTEST thing to watch him smile when I tell him that today when he shared it made mommy soooooooo happy. By sharing he was being nice to people.....or whatever example you think of. Finding the positives is so important and makes your kids want to continue to make good decisions. We'll also talk about one thing he needs to work on for example "Tyson today when you took the toy away from Case it made him so sad. We are Ohmans and Ohmans are nice to people. We don't take toys away. Tomorrow we are going to work on not taking toys away. I know you can do it!" not verbatim obviously but I just wanted to give you an idea of how we work on things.

For a long time I would just say these rules each night and go through the process. He never said anything and to be honest I wasn't sure if it was really doing much of anything. Now however he pretty much says the rules to me, reminds me we need to go over the rules (I think he likes hearing what he did good that day), and during the day will bring a rule up if someone breaks it. If someone hurts his feelings he'll say "Ohmans are nice to people!" It makes me feel good that he recognizes these rules and that they are something that are now part of his decision process.



5.  "What I Love About You is...."

This is actually the newest line I just came across in a magazine article and is one I want to start incorporating. In this specific example they were talking about kids sports and how after a game that doesn't go well whether the team lost or your child specifically didn't do well and is frustrated what to say. " What I love about you is......that even though your team lost you did your best and cheered for others on your team" OR  "What I love about you is........even though you had a hard game, you'll show up to practice to work hard and try again (also can insert b/c we are Ohmans and Ohmans can do hard things)".

This phrase can be used in several different scenarios and I just love it. "What I love about you is......even though you didn't get a good grade on this test, you won't let it get you down and you will work hard to understand the material for next time."

We are all sooooo imperfect but are doing our best to raise our kids "the right way". I am so grateful to have come across these phrases to help encourage our kids to do good things for a positive reason. I would love to hear or add on to this list for other parents looking to add some positive language to their kids. If there is something you do, say, or have heard, drop it in the comments below! I hope you all have an amazing week and remind your kiddos that you love them and are proud of them. They need to hear it.







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