I would love to tell you that all of my children are pure angels. I can’t. In fact, it seems that lately they are over the top in misbehavior. I can only assume this is because of Christmas and the craziness that sometimes accompanies this blessed holiday. I find I am using time outs a little more these days.
To make yourselves feel better for any over the top behavior from your own children lately, here’s a little story. We went to our church’s Christmas Eve service. Everyone was dressed beautifully in their most lovely Christmas dresses. We sat in the front row because the kids like to be up front in the action. The service was absolutely beautiful, which I feel doesn’t even describe it properly. I had to slip out a couple times to settle Laelia and take Willow to the bathroom. I even came back with crayons and coloring sheets for the girls at one point, just to ensure quiet and stillness. Nearing the end of the service we were singing another lovely song. I, sitting in between Willow and Laelia, turned to look at Laelia and as I turned my head back over to Willow, I looked just in time to see her leaping off of her chair, through the air like Spiderman, landing just in front of the steps that lead up to the stage. What???? Imagine my horror! I get it. She was bored and for some reason felt the inspiration to fly through the air. Perhaps she was “moved by the Spirit,” which is not something our church practices charismatically, but Willow apparently felt it. After a very stern talking to she sat in her seat very still and ladylike for the remaining 5 minutes of the service. I’m sure many of you have comparable stories, but hopefully that helps you feel a little better.
Initially, I didn’t really feel like time outs worked that well. Chloe likes them because she truly needs time to herself. So to go to her room is refreshing for her. She just lays in bed for a while. When I come in to talk to her, she sometimes wants to stay there and just be by herself, which I can’t blame her for. The other two aren’t really fond of time outs, but that’s okay. They usually help anyway.
I wanted to have an official “time out spot.” I discovered a great little place next to our book cabinet. After putting Laelia there a couple (dozen) times, I realized that we needed an X to mark the spot where that little bottom needed to remain until released from captivity. So, I got some painter’s tape and marked it.
But then I wanted to cutsie it up (for me), so I made a sweet “Time Out” sign using scrap book paper and a picture frame and labeled the corner. The square on the wall marks where they should look while in time out. I figured it would get peeled off by Laelia and it already has! She’s on top of things around here.
And there you have it! My newest creative addition, which I like. It has added a great concrete aspect to time outs and expectations, which I’m definitely fond of. Boundaries are superb! And Laelia must really like it, because within 20 minutes after I finished it yesterday, she had already “visited” it three times!