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Monday, May 2

Time Outs…That Aren’t Punishments

Recipient Button_Spr#7F957A It’s hard, when you’re a busy mom, to deal with unexpected meltdowns from one’s offspring. When you’re rushing to get things done, the last thing you want to do is take time to deal with a total conniption fit. Your kid is upset. You are upset.
It sucks.
Enter “the Love Chair.”
No matter what, a screaming toddler or preschooler is going to slow you down. But you can lessen the impact, soothe everyone’s feelings, speed up the calming down process, and reaffirm your love for your child by christening and using a “love chair” (or whatever you want to call it).
Our love chair is a pretty pathetic looking, blue mess of an arm chair which we only have in our family room because my brother-in-law (who lives in the apartment next to ours) couldn’t fit it in his tiny studio. But I love it anyway, because of what it means to my daughter and myself.
One day, when tempers were running hot and I was >this< close to losing it, something just clicked in my mind. Instead of raising my voice in answer to the kidlet’s angry complaints I asked, “Lucy, do you need to sit in the Love Chair? Let’s have some snuggles in the Love Chair.”
And we did.
And it worked.
She got the reconnection she so desperately needed. I got a moment of peace, and some sweet snuggles which reminded me how precious my little girl is. And we both got over whatever dispute or problem was plaguing us (as is often the case, in hindsight, it was completely forgettable and ultimately unimportant).
If you need a special parenting tool for your “tool box” of techniques to deal with the maddening tantrums of early childhood, why not designate a Love Chair, or couch, or pile of pillows or whatever works best for you?
Then, in those moments when you and your child are both out of patience and out of your minds, stop. Sit. Snuggle. Even if the problem doesn’t go away, you’ll both be better equipped to solve it once you’re calm and reconnected.
Children need to be reminded that, even when mum or dad are angry, they are still loved. And parents need to be reminded that, even when kids are stubborn and rude and infuriating that we still love them. That’s what makes the Love Chair so important in our house.
Time outs can be a positive experience. They don’t have to be a punishment. They can be a time for strengthening connection and bringing peace to your heart.
Besides…someday your kid will be 14 and will prefer storming off to her room while yelling “I HATE YOU” to snuggling, so you might as well get as many snuggles as you can now.
This post brought to you by Mom Central Canada. Thank you so much for supporting bloggers via your blogger grant program, and thanks especially for choosing me to be a recipient!

4 Stubborn Stains:

Eesti said...

I must say, you’ve got one of the best blogs I’ve seen in a long time. What I wouldn’t give to be able to create a blog that as interesting as this. I guess Ill just have to keep reading yours and hope that one day I can write on a subject with as much knowledge as you’ve got on this one!

imemary said...

This is a super idea.

pamela said...

OMG that is a super great idea!

I need to find a blue armchair now a la blues clues

Kami said...

I've been thinking about this post all day long. We don't have a "love chair" and Carmen doesn't yet do anything that really needs discipline (hoo boy, this next year should be exciting) but this reminds me of stuff I've read in my favorite parenting books over the years. :)

Have you ever read "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent child"? It's really good and I like the principles of emotion coaching, which involves acknowledging/identifying/addressing a child's emotions. I also liked lots of parts of "Parenting with Love and Logic" about giving your children acceptable choices and setting boundaries without having to be controlling.

It sounds like the sort of thing you like to do. :)

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