A good working example of consistency is when your normally “out of control” toddler leaves you speechless with his model behaviour at school. This is due to the consistency of routines employed by schools and day care centers that must strictly enforce certain rules and regulations to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
There are a couple of ways you can employ consistency at home:
- have a standard procedure for handling certain misdemeanours at home and stick to it.
- have a fixed routine for problematic times of the day and stick to it.
When Gavin was very little, I did try to establish a certain bedtime routine in the hope that it would facilitate the process of going to bed and avoid the tantrums we had to face whenever we had to put Gavin to bed. Unfortunately, I found that routines made it worse and that constantly changing the routine worked better because he wouldn’t realise what we were doing until he was too tired to fight.
I had long given up on the bedtime routine until some time back (probably around about the time Gavin started going to school) when I realised Gavin had stopped fighting me regarding bedtime. We would wash up and settle into bed. Gavin would then nurse with the lights out (something he absolutely hated, although I’m sure it was more the significance of having the lights out that he disliked rather than any real fear of the dark) until he fell asleep.
It is difficult to determine whether we could attribute his agreeable acceptance to bedtime to the routine or whether it was simply because he was older and more mature. Regardless, I was happy not to have to deal with any more meltdowns regarding bed time and sleep.
Have you use this method to manage your children? Please share your personal experiences relating to this particular disciplinary measure – what was the situation, how well did it work, etc.