A couple in one of my recent parenting classes had such great success with a parenting strategy for their toddler who whined, cried and complained whenever it was dad’s night to do tuck-ins that I thought I would share their winning formula that improved their family evenings immediately.
Principle of "Let Routines Be The Boss"
In order to reduce your child’s "negotiating behaviours" of whining, crying and other means of trying to get their way (have mommy do the tuck in), you could "let routines be the boss".
In order for this to be effective, parents need to consider three key elements:
- The routine needs to be established in advance (Planning)
- The child needs to be involved in setting the routine (Give Choices)
- The routine must be followed (Be Consistent, Act Firm and Friendly)
This family made a seven-day calendar and posted it on the fridge. Their pre-verbal toddler was shown the calendar and the big red arrow that pointed to which day of the week it was. He liked that. He could move the arrow in the morning to show it was the next day on their calendar.
Next they gave their son 4 cut-outs of photos of daddy’s face and 3 of mommy’s face. This was the distribution this family decided on, it might be different in your house. The boy was allowed to choose which nights on the calendar he would like to have a mommy tuck-in and he put her face on those days. Likewise for the nights he chose to have a daddy tuck-in.
Mom and dad knew that they would have to be firm and friendly and follow through with the routine as posted on the calendar if he decided to change his mind. Now it was the routine that was the boss, not mom and dad being the "meanies".
Truth is, the young boy seemed to understand that the decision was made and appreciated being part of those decisions that affect him. He has not complained or whined for a mommy tuck since! Evenings are spent enjoying playful bath time and loving tuck-ins instead of pleading and negotiating.
I hope this helps your family enjoy your time with each other more.