Mar 29, 2011

Simple Solutions -Towels and Tantrums

Maybe having towels hanging from your oven door is way old fashioned or something but I've got em.  They are super handy right here for drying hands after washing dishes or in between food prep steps as well has the perfect height for Small Fry to dry her hands.  They are also perfect for my two darling daughters to pull down everyday and drag to unknown parts of the house.  I found myself getting frustrated because I would go to grab a towel and it was either on the floor or in some toy bin.  Plus as I cooked they were always getting pulled off.  It's small stuff I know but it was driving me crazy.  So I came up with this:
This is my before:
 Now I used 3 new dish towels (though they don't have to be new), a piece of ribbon (3 inches for each towel) and a package of shower curtain hooks (got mine for a $1.00 but there are lots of cute ones out there).
 I cut my piece of ribbon and folded a 1/4 inch under on each side.
 I found the center of my towel (it was easy on new ones cause they still had the crease mark in them) and pinned my ribbon.  Then I sewed over the ends of the ribbon.  This creates a little loop hook.
Put 3 (or more or less if you like) hooks on your oven door handle, open them, thread on the loop, lock em closed and problem solved.  I was worried they would become a pulling toy and risk pulling the door open (which some of you may have kids that can do this so beware) but actually my little pumpkin pulled on them the first time and realized they weren't coming off so now she likes to just slide them back and forth.  Everyone is happy!!!  I took an extra 10 minutes and added hooks to my already existing towels and we are set!!
Cautionary note:  Just remember if you have kids that are climbers, grabbers, pullers or really strong for their age they could use these to pull on your oven door-so beware.  This isn't a project suited for household.

 Now for my simple solution to tantrums (p.s. this has not eliminated tantrums from my house-only helped cool some of them in the heat of the moment).  In February we were getting ready to go to the State basketball tournament.  We had told Small Fry if she was good she could ride on the bus with daddy.  The tournament was 2 days away.  Every time she started having a melt down or attitude we would say, "Do we need to take away your chance to ride the bus?"  I felt like it was really hard to distinguish when she had gone over the line or when we needed to give her another chance (I mean she is only 2).  So I quickly whipped up this smiley face chart.  I found a picture of a bus and laminated it and stuck it to the bottom, then I put up two rows of smiley faces.  I told Small Fry that if she lost all of her smiles she would also lose the bus.  This became really effective because as she was acting up or melting down I would give her a warning and say, "do you want to lose a smile?"  Sometimes she would stop and sometimes she would continue-in which case I would take off a smile.  What worked so well is that she could visually see how many smiles she had left and actually she was devistated when she lost her first smile. 

I have continued using this chart and have made various pictures to put on the bottom.  I have park, tv, ice cream, a bike ride, a ride in dads sidekick, bake cookies, library and trampoline.  She gets to choose what she would like to do if she doesn't lose all her smiles.  I like this because there are always those times in parenthood that are unclear whether they warrant a time out or if you should just ignore them or what.  I still use time out for major offenses like kicking, hitting, major tantrums but this is perfect for things like not listening to instructions, not sharing, not getting her coat on when asked for the 4th time.  You know how it is when you are trying to get out the door quickly-there isn't always time to stop for time out but a warning that a smile will be gone can help get things back on track.  When all the smiles are gone she can try again the next day.  If she keeps her smiles and we do the thing at noon or something then I let her choose another reward for the afternoon.  It has been really helpful in our house (and helpful for me especially since I no longer have to give warning after warning and chance after chance). 
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  1. I really like the smiles idea! I have a 3 year old and a 2 year old (plus an 8 month old baby) so I completely agree about not having time for time out...and I've tried sticker charts and stuff that rewards them for good behavior but they get so caught up on getting stickers and dont seem to understand they have to earn it.

    Thank you for sharing this!!!!

  2. Just a little something I have learned along my way of mommy hood, reading lots of books, taking parenting classes and such, you should reverse what you are doing. You are giving attention to her negative behavior instead of attention to her posative behavior. When she does the things you want she can earn a smile and when she gets all the spaces filled she earns her prize. Just a thought to provoke mores posative behavior. It has worked for our 4 girls!

  3. comment 2 totally makes sense - I mean, positive reinforcement is pretty powerful. But so are consequences for unacceptable behavior. I like your chart and will copy it for my 3-year old!

  4. I have the exact same towel problem in my house. I have 2 to 3 hanging on the stove at all times...or so I think until I need them and realize they are strewn throughout the house! I will have to give your solution a try:) Pretty ingenious!

  5. Perfect idea. I will keep this one in my tool box:)

  6. Thank you so much for sharing I appreciate it a ton! Sometimes as a new mom I am lost at what to do. There are so many ideas or some good and some better at what do in certain situation and I just love this idea. It will help as the tantrum are already beginning with Kenlee I know she doesn't understand a whole lot yet but this gets me prepared for when she starts to understand a little more. Thanks again for sharing!

  7. Please be very careful using this idea! While I think it's very cute and you did mention that your child cannot pull the oven door open, it doesn't mean someone else's child won't be able to. Or even that as your child gets stronger that she won't be able to yank that oven door open. Imagine if you had something boiling on top of the stove or if the whole stove actually toppled over on top of her. Some oven's have a sliding lock that allows you to lock them but I would still be a little leary of anything that might cause a jarring motion on my stovetop.

    I hate to be the negative one here - I would just hate for any of your little ones to get hurt.

  8. Thanks Clair. I do try and pay attention to my kids and don't usually have stuff boiling/cooking while I am not in the kitchen and they are. Plus we do work on teaching them not to yank and I am cautious enough to watch that other peoples children (who are not usually at my house) aren't playing near my oven. I understand the concern-and mentioned it myself. This post has helped me feel like a slightly incompetent mother. Not exactly what I was thinking.

  9. Aww Heather the last thing I meant to do was make you feel like an incompetent mother. It is obvious from your posts and from the love and attention that you but into everything from home cooked meals to hand crafted gifts that you love and adore your family. I'm sorry if I mad you feel bad, it definitely wasn't my intention. I merely wanted to draw it to people's attention and just say say "Proceed with caution" Sometimes we don't think about what could happen until it's too late - and not because we're being negligent but maybe it just didn't occur to us. There was a safety expert on tv the other day who said you shouldn't let your child play with pots and pans because next time they see them on top of the stove they might think "Hey there's my toy pot" I always let my kids play with the pots and pans and never gave it a second thought and while no one ever got hurt, I can definitely see the logic behind that.

    I've been a long time lurker of your blog and I think you are very sweet. Once again I sincerely apologize if I hurt your feelings :(

  10. Thanks Clair,
    The incompetent mother days come and go regardless. It was just one of those days. I appreciate your voice of concern. It really is true we don't realize some things until someone brings them to our attention. I am adding a cautionary note to the post just in case. It is always a good thing to make people aware.

  11. I love these ideas! Just found your blog. The smile chart is perfect because I have been so frustrated trying to teach my kids to listen the first time! Thanks! And great blog :)

  12. Works great with older kids and quarters. Put enough in the jar for their weekly allowance, then subtract for undone jobs or behavior issues. We actually started with smaller allowances and nickels then worked up.


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