With 1 preschooler, 1 toddler and a baby at home with me all day every day, things can sometimes get chaotic. Mostly it has to do with bad attitudes, not listening, fighting, me losing my patience and discipline. Argh...why can't kids just always behave exactly how you want them to! Until recently, the punishment I would dole out for naughtiness was never predictable because it depended on my patience (or lack there of), what I was doing at the time, and whether I would actually carry through with my threats.
Enter streamlined consequences. At the beginning of summer we started letting the girls stay up an hour later than their usual bedtime. We made this decision for several reasons, but mostly because it's hard to get 3 kids in bed at the same time and summer warrants a later bedtime as the sun is still up until 10pm. The rule that came along with a later bedtime was that they would lose their staying up late privilege for the following night if they gave us "excessive" trouble going to bed. This seemed to work very well especially for Magnolia. Boothe who just turned 3 gets a bit more slack because she's still pretty young. But there have been several nights when Boothe lost her privilege and was in bed early while Magnolia got to enjoy the extra hour.
I love this "bad action receives the same negative consequence" idea to discipline so we started applying it to other behaviors. When they hit one another or fight beyond disagreements or arguments they lose their iPad and computer time for that day or the next. When they are disrespectful, sassy, tell us "no" or don't listen; instead of a simple time-out, Magnolia has to sit down and read one of these Munro Leaf books. Since Boothe can't read, she has to look at one of them. These are fun little books originally published in the 1930s by Munro Leaf and have recently been reprinted. We have read them together with the kids and talked through the manners and behaviors that they discuss and Magnolia and Boothe have read them together. They are simply written and do a great job of explaining why using your manners, being polite and getting along with others is so important. A great use for 5-10 minutes of time-out.