Many of us have learned how to set Loving Limits so that we can tell our kids what WE will do instead of what we DON'T do. It's super positive and really helps kids understand in a loving way that they aren't running the show in our households.
However, by setting limits we're really helping ourselves to keep calm and be in control. Look at the following scenarios:
- I'm not serving dinner until you put away your mess!
- I serve dinner to kids who've put away their toys.
- You can't play on the computer. You haven't finished your homework yet.
- We allow kids who've finished their homework to play games on the computer.
- I'm not reading you books tonight! You took forever to get ready for bed so there's no time left to read. No crying!
- I read books to kids who are ready by bedtime which is 8:15. This is so sad that you took too long to get ready. I'm sure that things will be better tomorrow night. I know you're sad, me too, since I love reading you books at night. (notice the empathy!)
So, every morning I have to ask my kids to put away their cereal box. So, yesterday morning when the cereal box, got left out, I took the cereal box and put in on top of the fridge. (The place I put stuff that they have lost for the week.) Here is the conversation my son and I had (it was his cereal):
O: Mom, why is my cereal on the fridge?
Me: Oh, it is so sad. It was left out on the table again this morning. You can have it back on Saturday (when they always get their stuff back).
O: Oh, okay. Tomorrow I will just open another box.
Me: Buddy, I am so sorry but you lost the privilege of eating cereal until you get that box back on Saturday. You will have to figure out something else for breakfast tomorrow.
O: Okay, I will have toast.
Me: Ummm...that is a great start but you need to include some type of protein.
O: Great! You can make me eggs.
Me: Oh, you know, I will be busy making lunches and my own breakfast. You usually make your own breakfast so you will still need to do that tomorrow. (I was SOOOO tempted to make him eggs.) You can make your own eggs. You know how to do that.
O: Oh, I don't want to do that. How about nuts? Will that work?
Me: Sounds like a great plan.
And this morning, he did just that. No complaining. No helicopter mom rescuing. No complaining about cereal boxes left out. Even his sister made sure hers got put away. #winning!