In our family, starting solids is not just a new stage for our babies to experience. It’s not just funny faces and messy mouths. We take it very seriously, because as soon as our children are old enough to sit up in a highchair to eat their baby cereal, we start a WHOLE new chapter in their lives……..
We start teaching basic manners and we start to discipline them.
We are on kid number 4, but this method started 7 years ago with Destiny, and since it was so affective, we have chosen to continue this with the other 3.
We pick 6 baby signs to teach them:
Drink, eat, more, thank you, please, and all done.
( Here is a link if you want to research what these signs look like, the only one it doesn’t list is “all done”. That can be found here.)
At first, we just sign to them: Do you want More to Eat? (signing more and eat) Or, Drink Please! But before long, they are sighing to us. What a moment! That moment when your baby looks at you, takes that sweet chubby hand up to their mouth to sign “eat please”! Super exciting! 🙂
With some of my kids it was around 9 months when they’d start to sign back, with others, around the year mark. Either way, it’s a very effective form of communication, one we love to teach and use! Already Paxton has looked at his water after I sign and say “Drink?” His eyebrows go up and he gets so excited!
On to the discipline part…..
High chair discipline is very easy and very necessary. It’s the basis of all discipline to come. We choose to use a firm “NO” and a hand squeeze with simple phrases of:
“NO. We keep our hands on the tray.”
“We don’t throw food.”
“You may NOT put your hands in the bowl.”
There is a natural transition in the severity of the punishment. When the hand squeeze stops working, we flick the hand. Usually at this point, it’s the hand getting them in trouble during feeding time!
As they become mobile and get into things, we transition to a spank on the hand when they don’t obey our first firm NO! You would be amazed at how affective this is already at this age. They know! They know FAR more than parents give them credit for.
In fact, it gets to the point where we just make the “Ah ah ah” noise as they are approaching the “no-no” (a plant, the remote etc.) and they will shake their little heads no and crawl away. (Or, if your name is Avery, touch it once, while looking at Mommy, JUST to be sure she is serious.) They know what comes next if they touch it! They know they get a hand spank, and they know they don’t want that.
As they become toddlers, we introduce a spank on the diaper, transitioning to a spank on the leg around age 2.
We use phrases like:
“I need FIRST time obedience from you.”
- This means you CANNOT count! You know what I am talking about……
“You obey mommy! By the time I get to 3, you better be over here cleaning up, or ELSE! ONE – TWOOOOO – TWO & A HALF – TWO & THREE QUARTERS….THREE!”
This is the part where they ruuuun over to you to start cleaning up, and from them on, will wait until “3” to obey, because they can! My mom did this to us, and we TOTALLY waited till 3 on purpose!
- This truly only gives the child 3 more seconds of blatant defiance and disobedience to you, and does nothing but allow for that child to know that you don’t mean what you say…at least not right away!
“Slow obedience is no obedience.”
- We expect our children to obey and obey promptly. We tell them…..
“The Bible says ‘Children obey your parents…’ It makes God happy when you obey mommy and daddy.”
- Ultimately, our goal as parents, is to teach our children to live in a way that honors God and obeys His Word. In saying that, we want our kids to obey us, because they know that is what GOD wants, not just because it is what WE want.
Children are happiest when there are clearly boundaries set. They may push and test those boundaries once in a while, but only to be sure the safety of those walls are still there.
Discipline is hard on parents, but life is harder without it! When my mom used to say “This hurts me more than it hurts you” I thought she was NUTS! But its true, it is hard to discipline. Its work and it takes time, but it’s so worth it and it’s straight from God’s word.
“If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24 (NLT)
My word has to be gold to these kids. It has to be true and pure, it has to be firm and real. What I say needs to be what I do, and PROMPTLY, as the verse above states, or they will question the sincerity of every word from my mouth.
There are times I have spouted off “Fine! If you don’t finish your supper, we will NOT go to the party.”
Guess who had to stay home from the party? Yup, me and the naughty one.
You better believe it will make a lasting impression on that child and if you are like me, it really made me think before I threatened my children in the future. Saying what I said, meant a bit of a punishment for me as well, it was no fun watching the rest of the family go without us! But I said it, so I HAD to follow through or forever more be doubted!
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about Phase II of Discipline at our house and introduce you to “The Rod”.
Work hard today to say what you mean & mean what you say…..little ears are listening & learning!
Stick to your guns Momma, and be consistant, consistant, consistant!