By and large Evangeline gets into the most trouble when she has too much energy. We’ve been trying to find creative ways to help her learn deal with her energy, thus keeping her out of trouble and developing her own self control. St. Benedict, Rev. Lawrence Lovasik, and this person would be proud of us. These are three ways we’ve come up with so far:
- Hold Your Hands: My mom pioneered this one on a whim and it’s been wonderful. Buckled in a shopping cart Evangeline ends up with all of this pent up nervous energy wanting everything and reaching nothing. Whining and frantic grasping ensues. We tell Evangeline to hold her hands to keep them out of trouble. Won’t lie, we were shocked this worked! She holds her hands in her lap or puts them in her pockets and for the most part keeps herself controlled.
- If You’re Happy and You Know It: Evangeline learned the song “if you’re happy and you know it” at a library story time. Yesterday she was all worked up bouncing off the walls while I was trying to feed and rock Reuben. So we started singing. It wasn’t long before I realized “clap your hands” and “stomp your feet” weren’t going to be enough to wear off the kind of energy she had. So we added “jump up and down”, “spin around” and “flip off the couch”. I understand not everyone will want to go so far as “flip off the couch” but this little song turned into a serious aerobic exercise routine for her. After about 10 minutes she stopped and said she wanted to sit and play with her blocks. Success!
- Go Run Laps: This was another spur of the moment suggestion that surprisingly worked, now it’s our good ole stand by. Got too much energy? Run. And keep running. Luckily the two houses we’ve lived in make a loop through the kitchen, living room and dining room. So we send her running round and round until she wears herself out. This works well in the evenings when it’s too dark to play outside.
Lest we get discouraged that these lofty concepts of supernatural love and self control are escaping Evangeline, she shows us some small glimpses that this is working. I was doing the dishes and Evangeline was helping by putting away the silverware. Felicity was also “helping” by alternately opening the pantry or climbing into the dishwasher, depending on which way my back was turned. When Evangeline finished with the silverware, I asked her to take Felicity to the other room to play. She hops down and starts walking to the play room calling over her shoulder “come on Felicity, come play in here, stay out of trouble. Here, play with this toy, that will keep you out of trouble”
And wouldn’t you know it, Felicity followed and sat down happily playing with the toy, staying out of trouble. Made my little mama heart flutter!
We are trying to be pro-active and plan out our discipline approach. But sometimes the things that work best are the things we come up with on a whim. What ways do you have of keeping your kids out of trouble?