Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thomas' Rules

A friend of mine shared with me that her pediatrician recommended doing a rules chart for her almost three year old son. Her pediatrician said even though her son could not read yet, he would memorize it just like he does when you read a book over and over to him. My friend told me she tried the rules chart with success, so I thought it couldn't hurt for us to try it. Thomas' behavior has been getting worse lately, and I figured anything that might make him act a little nicer would be good.

I should have known to choose a day where Thomas was in a really good mood. But, I decided to put this new chart into effect on a day when his behavior was really testing my limits. We sat down at the kitchen table and I explained to Thomas what Mommy was writing on the dry erase board. The rules we added to our chart were:

- Be a good listener
- No throwing
- No hitting, kicking or biting
- Help clean up

He thought the whole idea was really cool, until I decided to tell him what happens if he breaks a rule. I told him, "If you break one of the rules, your consequence is going to be for you to go to time out or your toy will go to toy time out." At this point, he no longer thought this was a fun project.

He was yelling that he wanted to use the dry erase marker to color on the chart. I told him no, but that I would get him his own crayons and paper out to color. He was not happy with my compromise. I decided to ignore his outbursts so I could figure out a way to hang the chart above his official 'time out' spot. I got creative with some wire and some tape, and hung up the chart. Meanwhile, Thomas is screaming at me about how he does not like the chart and how he wants to color it.

So, away he goes to time out. I set the timer for two minutes and walked away from his screaming tantrum. About a minute into his time out, I hear a crash and even more crying. I rushed over to see what happened. The time out chart fell on his foot. Apparently my makeshift hanger didn't hold. I was trying really hard not to laugh. He just kept saying he didn't like the chart and I needed to take it down, and then it fell right on top of him. Let's just say we were adding injury to insult this time.

I eventually got it hung back up securely. He still isn't thrilled we have this chart, but I do have to say his behavior is improving. He even comes up to me to tell me, "no hitting" or "no throwing" from time to time.