Thursday, January 21, 2010

Positive Parenting-SAHM Survival Pack

You could call this concept many things, but it's best described by that old adage "Do you want to turn off the faucet or mop up the floor?" I'm calling this "positive parenting" because it sounds better than "turn off the faucet parenting!"
Here's the idea:
It is better to supply your children with a positive way to use their energy.
Then hopefully there will be fewer instances where you have to use negative discipline.
Here's how it works in our house: I try (try being the key word, there is still A LOT of disciplining going on here!) to give all my children ideas on how to spend their time, especially when I cannot be playing/schooling right alongside them. For the boy this looks like a big box of puzzles and other school activities. I also have a list on the ready when he even looks like he might be bored: "How about books or blocks or cars or guy guys?" Or something like that. My goal is for the boy's mind to stay positively engaged all day long.
I also try to have snacks/meals ready before there is even a hint of hunger among the little ones. I'm pretty sure at least one of them has blood sugar issues, and if he starts feeling empty, he's very likely to start being peskier to his sisters and just mischievous in general.
The girls are a little easier in this way. The oldest has her school work to do, and the positive parenting there comes with me remembering to mix the fun stuff in with the necessary repetitiveness of school. She has to get her math facts in, but if I know these set off her stubborn disposition, what if we make it a game? And other ideas like that.
And the youngest is the easiest of all. She can be flat out pitching a fit, and if you say, "Don't I hear your baby crying?" she sobers right up and runs off to find out which of her baby dolls needs her attention. So cute! My goal of course, is to direct her to the dolls or other toys before she gets to that tantrum stage.
When going out (shopping, etc) positive parenting involves explaining exactly where you're going, what you're going to do, and what the rewards/penalties will be for good/bad behavior. I find it is very helpful if each child knows they have $1 or two to spend when we go into a certain huge grocery store. They are excited, cheerful, and peaceful throughout; instead of whining for this or that. And fortunately the granna has provided a small stash of goody cash for just such occasions!
Another aspect of positive parenting is BEING PREPARED. Does anyone remember One Fine Day where Michelle Pfieffer played a mom who had to unexpectedly drag her son along with her for an entire work day? The movie was a comedy of errors, but one great part of it that has stayed with me all these years was that Michelle's character had a huge purse that held everything her son could possibly want or need for the entire day. Hungry? There's a snack right here. Thirsty? Here's a juice box. Spilled something on my shirt? No matter, I'll wear the extra one I packed for you! Need a costume? Sure! I'll whip one up with this handy aluminum foil I happen to be carrying in my purse!
So be prepared. I almost always have snack bags and drinks for my kids wherever we go. I try to have crayons and paper and/or small toys for each of them if I even suspect there might be waiting involved in our outing. When we travel, each child is allowed to bring a small tub of carefully chosen travel toys. The list goes on, but I'm sure you get the idea.
I'm sure none of these ideas are new ones to you, and I'm sure you have more wisdom to share! What do YOU do to head off the whiney fits and the boredom-induced misbehavior? What do you carry with you on outings with your kids?
This blog is part of a series about a SAHM Survival Pack. Check out the other blogs on this subject here, here, and here. So far the pack includes baggies (stay tuned for several other household odds and ends), band aids, Tums, Tylenol, Benadryl, Neosporin, (these may be generic), a thermometer, grape fruit seed crush, kids' vitamins, Spirulina, an egg timer, a $5 gift card to Starbucks, bath salts (time for yourself), and a water bottle.
Remember that this giveaway is scheduled for the week of February 1st through 5th. I will post a few more Survival Pack posts, and as long as you are a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom, any and every comment that you leave will be counted as an entry for the giveaway. (As long as you are a follower, you can leave unlimited comments!) I would love it if your comments left me more ideas for what a SAHM can't live without. Thanks!


  1. I definitely carry coloring books, a couple small books, snacks and normally a hand held game. Like they play the magnetic games. Tic Tac Toe, Operation, etc. Normally keeps them busy:) And sometimes, it is the dumbest things that keep them busy. When they are little, giving them a bunch of empty containers and then some balls, they loved playing with the containers. Letting them use their imagination is the best possible thing:)


  2. Hot wheels, hands down are a life saver. For girls or boys, you can carry them easily and play with them anywhere!
    pjkmitchell at hotmail dot com

  3. Great ideas, Olivia. I wish your blog had been available when I was parenting. I'll definitely keep these things in mind as a grandparent.

  4. i don't think i have anything to add to this, but i like it!!!! =D

  5. Great ideas. I like to have an old, dead cell phone. Magic.

  6. As a stay at home mom I would really recommend having a mixture of DVD's that your kiddo likes to watch that always seems to give me a few min to do dishes or laundry.

  7. You have some good ideas. I also think it's important for our children to learn that life does not cater to them and they need to exercise patience when they do not get what they want or joy even when they are tired or cheerfulness when they have to walk through the grocery store. Life is not always going to "entertain" them. Sometimes they just need to push through and learn to persevere.

  8. I second all of these idea's...I think that the most important thing to my kids is surprises...I am constantly throwing little things in my purse...I say let's see what we can find in there -- might be a hand held game -- might be runts...they just never know...but with a purse as big as mine -- it takes a while to find it too! :)

  9. Good ideas! For me, my miracle distraction at the grocery store is dum-dums. I dole out pretzels as long as that suffices, as to ward off the sugar high as long as possible. Then I pull out the suckers, and all's well... most of the time!

  10. what great ideas! I try to plan my outings when I know my kids will be happier (after a meal or snack, in the morning before their tired or after their nap in the afternoon). I let each of my kids (my 4 and 2 yo) bring 1 toy w/ them when we leave (they know it has to be small) and that keeps them happy. There is also a bucket of baby toys in the car for my 1 yo - which the 4 and 2 yo will help themselves to if they get bored. And when we go grocery shopping, my kids know that if they are well behaved, I will pick something out in the store for them to eat while I pay (that distracts them having to sit there and wait for awhile) - today they each got string cheese :)