Originally Posted by Nansense
I feel like we have high expectations and thus the constant correcting. So how can you have high expectations and NOT be a nag?
A few of you mentioned going outside - we do a walk, bike ride almost every day. It is more of a headache than a pleasure. "Stay on the edge" "Stay near me" "Don't get too far ahead" etc.... I'm constantly shouting out directions and it's not relaxing. Yesterday, I took bike rides away for a week because they got so far ahead I couldn't see them. So we did a walk today and it was all complaining - it was all I could do to not turn around because they need it.
I know this thread is getting looooong, but this caught my eye and I didn't see it addressed elsewhere.
We live in the city, and so riding bikes/trikes safety is REALLY important. If DS (age 3.5 now) keeps riding into the intersection, he could get killed, but it's fun to ride your trike to the park, and it's good exercise. So I pick my battle: Safety. Not perfection. Safety. And do as much in advance as possible so the expectations are high.
So, before we go out the door, helmet is on or we don't leave. Then we have a talk. "When Mommy says Red Light, you stop. When Mommy says Green Light, you can go." (And at this age we've added in yellow light.) Before we go out the door, he has to tell me what Red Light and Green Light mean. I ask him if, when mommy says Red Light, if that means stop RIGHT AWAY, or keep going a little bit and then stop. He's gotta get that answer right before we go out the door. And then one more question: "What happens if mommy says Red Light and you don't stop RIGHT AWAY?" Answer: "Mommy takes the tricycle away."
Once the expectations are set up and clear, we can finally step outside and have fun! Yep, he's had the trike taken away on many occasions. But when he does stop, I praise him for listening well and stopping right away. Red Light keeps him from getting too far ahead of me, so there are usually 4 or 5 Red Lights per block--it's not just reserved for the intersection or driveways. And he thinks it's a fun game to play. But a Red Light is a Red Light: if he doesn't stop right away, it doesn't matter what the excuse was (claiming he couldn't hear me, or that the sidewalk was sloping downward, or that there weren't any cars in that particular driveway or whatever), I take the trike.
The other really important thing is that the consequence is that it's spelled out in advance, and I follow through with it, but it's not excessive. I don't take the trike for a whole week: he's only 3, and a week is a VERY long time when you are 3! Plus, how can he practice following the rules if you he so infrequently gets the chance to practice? Nor does he lose our fun time at the park. The infraction was about the trike, and the trike only.
We finish going to the park, but I carry the trike. And I carry it back. The next time he wants to ride his trike to the park, be that tomorrow or a few days from now, we start over from the very beginning. He has to wear his helmet. We review the rules about Red Light and Green Light. He has to tell me whether he has to stop RIGHT AWAY or if he can keep going a little bit and then stop. He tells me what happens if he doesn't stop RIGHT AWAY. And only then do we step out the door.
If he makes it 90% of the way to the park before losing the trike, I still praise him for having listened so well for so long, but yep, the trike is taken away, and we walk the rest of the way. Recognize that at age 3 it's really hard to focus on following the rules for soooooo long, and absolutely give your kid credit for doing such a great job. But getting excited because you see the park and then getting yourself killed is not gonna cut it--thus, mommy takes the trike away, and we walk the rest of the way to the park and back.
We've made it all the way TO the park quite a few times; I don't think we've ever made it all the way there AND back home. LOL! But you know what? DS is learning how to meet some very high expectations for his behavior, and we are very proud of him for that. Other people who see him triking along the sidewalk are always impressed how well he's listening too, and generally also give him some kudos for being such a big boy and being so safe and listening to Mommy. So I think following very strict rules can be taught, but you do have to realize that it is a process that requires a high degree of self-control, persistence, and practice! Like any new skill, your kids aren't going to be perfect at it the first time around, but with continued practice, they can learn. And cheer them along in the process, because these skills that we take for granted really are not easy skills to learn.