This post is sponsored by Kudo Banz.
Raise your hand if you wish your kids listened better. 🙋🏼 I know your answer already: duh, Brittany, DUH. Of course we always want better listening, better behavior, because it makes life easier–not just for us as parents but also for our kids as tiny humans.
Positive parenting (or peaceful parenting) sounds like one of those unachievable parenting goals like The Three Week Old Baby Who Sleeps Through The Night or The Kindergartner Who Puts His Shoes On After You Ask The First Time. But positive parenting doesn’t have to be impossible, it’s doable because it means something different for everyone. For me, I have implemented small changes that have made huge long-term differences in the way my kids listen and behave.
1. Ditch the sticker chart and get Kudo Banz
Kudo Banz is a super rad company that has revolutionized the positive parenting movement. Kudo Banz is like a sticker chart that your kid wears. It’s a bracelet and you reward them with a kudo that attaches easily as they display good behavior. Once they earn three kudos, you can scan the last one on the Kudo Banz app on your phone. The kudo comes to life and then your child spins the reward wheel. It’s interactive and magical.
My favorite part of Kudo Banz is that it makes it fun for my kids. Second favorite thing? It’s so easy.
You can read all about the company’s mission here. I love that is was founded by a mama of 3, you know there’s a soft spot in my heart for a mom boss living her dream.
Get you own starter pack and additional kudos here.
2. Repeat their emotions aloud
This technique has helped me immensely with tantrums–putting a name to the emotion you kid is feeling in the heat of the moment and offering a solution. If Sullivan is raging because his brother has a ball he wants to play with I will say, “I understand you are mad right now because you want that ball. Let’s ask him if you can have it when he’s done.” Or if Harrison has had a long day at school and is melting down, “I understand you are upset and exhausted right now. Do you want to go read a book on mommy and daddy’s bed to decompress?”
Tantrums literally happen because your tiny human can’t handle their emotions. By repeating and naming the emotions, it encourages them to identify and learn to cope with their strong feelings.
3. There’s power in saying YES
I grew up in a household where I never got a flat out ‘yes’ to something I asked for. There was always a catch (after you clean your room) and, sometimes, even when I fulfilled that expectation another was added on (oh, wash the dishes too). Living in that world of ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ doesn’t create a positive, trusting environment. As a parent, I strive to always set clear expectations and use the word ‘yes’ as often as possible, even when I’m asking them to do something. Yes, it is clean up time and then we will watch a show.
The other power in using ‘yes’ is that your kids know how serious you are when you say ‘no.’ For example, using ‘no’ in a dangerous situation like walking out in to the busy street or climbing up to the top of the ladder at Home Depot. (YES, those are real life examples, ha!)
4. Ask the right questions
Instead of asking, “How was your day?” try something that will require more than a one word answer. After every experience I ask my kids, “What was your favorite part? and what was your least favorite part?” Usually this sparks more conversation and I actually get to hear their perspective in detail. I believe that having them talk about both the positives and negatives in their day is so important. Not all days are sunshine and rainbows but being able to see the silver lining in the bad days is such an important life skill.
5. Self-care + regulating my own emotions
Taking my own intense emotions out of the equation is by far the hardest part of positive parenting. Yelling when I’m frustrated because the 57th fight of the morning has broken out has happened more times than I’d like to admit. Deep breaths or taking a minute out of the presence of my kids (may I suggest in the closet, with coffee? Or wine? Whatever is appropriate for the time of day) is my go to coping mechanism when I feel like I’m losing my cool.
I’ve talked about self-care a lot before. In the grand scheme of things, this would be my number one parenting tip. Taking care of yourself so that you can be the best mom possible is the best thing you can do for your kids. Running, getting a pedicure with your girlfriends, spa day, a solo night away in a fancy hotel room with room service? Find your thing and integrate it in to your life.
To parallel this comes my own disclaimer: give yourself grace. No one is perfect. Many times I have apologized to my kids for losing my cool, “I’m sorry I yelled. I was frustrated and I forgot to take my deep breaths.”
Harrison has recently responded to my apology with, “I forgive you, mom. We all get frustrated sometimes. It happens.”
That exchange is the reason I’m an advocate for positive parenting: it works.