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Couch Jumping Olympics

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How To Discipline

Do your children just love that amazing upholstered trampoline in your living room – the one better known as a couch?  This piece of furniture is home to every toddler’s "Couch Jumping Olympics" training.

This event usually involves parents barking from  the sidelines:

"The couch is not for jumping, now get off right now."

"You know we don’t jump on the coach, how many times do I have to  tell you that!"

"Get down this minute – if I catch you up there one more time…"

Whatever your favorite little phrase is, have you noticed it does nothing to get a response until you start walking over to the couch to get  them down.

Why is that?

It’s because most "Couch Jumping Olympics" is really just a brilliant way kids have of getting our attention. If you  get on the phone  or start making supper, they simply have to start jumping on the sofa  to get you to stop what you’re doing and "deal with them" (pay attention to them, be involved with them and not others).

You will find that our words are the least effective  parenting tool, in fact the constant reminding and nagging is the attention (albeit  negative) that they seek! When you nag them, you are giving payoff  for this behaviour. You are getting involved with them and that re-enforces rather than  diminishes the behaviour!

Children learn from what happens. We need action instead of words so try this instead:

DAY ONE – Setting the stage for action

"The couch is not for jumping" (This is educational,  so say it once and only once. No doubt you are past this step! No need to tell a child something they already know, it’s disrespectful to the child.)

"You may jump on this cushion on the floor, or you can jump outside" (Redirection)

Child continues…

"Can you get down on your own or do you need some help? (Offer choice)

(Child continues jumping)

"I see you need some help" (we always respond to what they decide with their behaviour NOT their words)

Help them off the couch in a pleasant manner (following through, firm and friendly)

If they go back to jumping on the couch:

"I see you’re having trouble being in this room  with the couch and not jumping on it. Do you think you can manage that or do you need to leave this room?

If they go back to jumping on the couch:

"I see that you are choosing not to be in this  room – you can try again later. Can you come on your own or do you need some help?"

(Child doesn’t move)

Move the child, and close off the room with a baby gate.

Child is jumping on the coach.

Mother goes over and reaches out a hand.

Child doesn’t take the hand.

Mother moves the child off the coach to another room in the house and puts up a baby gate to that room.

No words said – the child understands perfectly.

Repeat day two, but child will probably take your hand or race out of the room themselves, they know the deal now.

Child doesn’t jump on coach anymore since it no longer gets the desired result of keeping mother busy by getting negative attention.

Good luck! Your days of aggravation are numbered.  And remember this rule of thumb: for every moment you ignore undue  attention seeking behaviour, you need to spend twice as much time being attentive and present and engaged positively with your child when they are not demanding it.

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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