Monday, May 5, 2014

Terrible Threes vs. the Reward Chart

We hit the twos a few months before her birthday, and we have now hit the threes just two months before her 3rd birthday.  She is this sweet, happy, and cooperative little girl most of the time.  But every now and then, this little crazy creature comes out and doesn't understand logic or reasoning or calm or love or any thing other than giving in to whatever it is that she is crying about.  There are a few things that seem to be joy killers in our house.  Wearing denim.  Hair in a pony tail.  Wearing a bow.  Having to wear clothing that is in any way tight or sits weird, including capri pants, 3/4 length sleeve shirts, etc.  Being asked to go to the bathroom because we are leaving for a long car trip, even though she doesn't have to immediately go.  Being asked to put away toys.  The bath - this one is a major hurdle.  She ends up arms and legs extended, feet kicking, screaming, not breathing, one big hot mess.    

After about a month, I was losing it.  I might have actually lost it a few times.  I was exhausted emotionally and she and I were on rocky ground.  Being a stay at home mom, we went round after round all day, and then started over the next day.  I never really had a chance to recoup.  Neither did she.  So I finally decided to try a reward chart.  We went to Walmart on Saturday and got poster board and some stickers.  I picked some rainbows because she were cheap and Cody let her choose some butterflies because they were her favorite.  He's a good dad.  We made a chart with pictures and words so she could try to take some ownership.  We also made sure that the things on the list were important things, fights we were willing to battle.  Basic necessities and some things that we want her to work on as she gets older.  She can possibly get a snack any day that she does good.  Plus, after a few good days, she would get a small reward.  And after two weeks of good behavior, she would get a new toy.   She was super excited and it was hope for both of us.  

The first day, she didn't get enough stickers for a cookie, because she fought the bath.  Like, hit me in the face so I wasn't really in a cookie giving mood.  But the first week was such a progressive success.  Each day, she got a few stickers without problem.  And whenever she seemed to be starting a fit, most of the time, I could remind her about the sticker and she would stop.  It didn't always work but it was helping.  She loved the positive reinforcement and the fun stickers.  And cookies are always good.  She had two bad days during the week because she got up early and just couldn't make it all the way through the end of the day.  Without naps, she struggles to make it to bedtime.  But, by the end of the week, we were having multiple good days in a row.  She was looking forward to putting stickers on there and getting a treat for dessert.  She got her reward this past weekend.  She picked out a new princess nightgown/dress to wear around the house.  She loves playing dress up princess.  Of course, as soon as she put it on, she said "It's so pretty - I'll go hang it up now."  Haha!  I'm so thankful that this is working and that she is learning how to stop and think about her actions and attitudes.  

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