Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Cooperation with the threat of timeout.

Tonight the kids were overtired and it was very difficult to induce cooperation in completing chores or preparing for bedtime.
I needed to take the role of drill sergeant tonight. After dinner I declared that we would have the kitchen completely clean before we went up to bed. In order to get 5 year old L to clean up the table I had to threaten to carry her into timeout. 3 year old T helped empty the dishwasher and even put the silverware away.
During bedtime I read one story and made it perfectly clear that L had to go into her bedroom alone tonight. She resisted and tried to hide under T's bed. I thought about my recourse for a long minute. Bedtime is tough, because it is difficult to find a reasonable consequence for not going to bed. Normally I put T down and then pop in to tell L a story. I decided that the consequence for not going straight to bed would be that L would miss her story. I knew that this was a harsh punishment and that I was in for 30 minutes of screaming if L decided to take what was behind door #2.
Unfortunately she still thinks that there is a chance that I might be bluffing. Or perhaps she was too tired to really let the consequence sink in. Either way I had painted myself into a corner and needed to haul L out from under the bed and put her in her room.
Indeed she cried for a solid 10 minutes. Screaming and running out of her room. Finally I put her back in bed and explained that she would be going to bed tomorrow night with a story if she continued her behavior. She quieted down to a whimper and called it a night.
I finished up with Tom's story and stretched out on his floor while he drifted off to sleep. I will go up and check on L after this post.
Hopefully by following through with this consequence L will become more attentive at bedtime when daddy tells her that she will need to go to sleep by herself.
Off for a run on the treadmill. It is 10 degrees outside.

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