5 Things I Did That Transformed My Child’s Behavior

Here are the 5 things that I did that transformed his behavior:

1. Take away something he loves.

I like to keep things simple so I started with the easiest. I took away his apple juice. For two reasons really. One, because he LOVES his apple juice and I needed to find something that he loved…that I could take away so he would understand that he doesn’t get the things he wants when he acts bad. Maybe for your child this is a specific toy, or blanket? For SJ… it was his apple juice. And two, because I felt like the sugar in the juice was keeping him awake at night

I’ve tried this before…but when I say the kid wouldn’t drink anything else but apple juice? I mean that. So I always just said…”Well, I have to give it to him because he doesn’t like anything else.”

Mistake number one. Too bad…if he doesn’t like anything else then he needs to learn to like something else. So, I said absolutely no more apple juice. You know what happened? He screamed and threw a huge fit for over an hour, yes…but after 60 minutes of that? He asked for milk. Yes, MILK.

And he’s been drinking milk ever since.
2. Schedule, schedule, schedule. A child loves a routine.

I began a strict schedule every evening in order to get his sleep problems under control. We start at 7:45 pm by going into his room. ALONE. No other boys allowed, they now have to sleep in Parker’s room so SJ can have a room to himself. I begin by praying over him. I try to keep it short and I try to not just pray for things that I want God to change, but I also praise God for the good things in SJ (we’ll talk about this more in #5). We then read three books. It’s the same three books every night. Again, because he loves a routine. For us it’s The Five Little Monkey’s Go Shopping, Llama Llama Mad At Mama and Llama Llama Wakey-Wake. After the book reading is over, I let him drink his cup of milk. I turn off ALL of the lights. No night lights, nothing. It needs to be pitch black. I kiss him goodnight and lay next to him until he falls asleep. Which typically takes about 15 minutes.

The first 4 nights of this was awful. I had to hold him down in his bed. He begged me to turn on a closet light, but I stayed strong. I knew that if he could see in his room…he would stay awake talking to himself. Haha!

Honestly, now when we go to bed? It’s SOOOOO easy! He goes right to sleep. For a kid that was staying up until midnight? I can’t even believe how easy it is to get him asleep by 8:30 PM.

I usually wait until he’s been asleep about 10 minutes and then I sneak out. He never notices and sleeps through the entire night!

3. Quality Time is Key.

I got lazy. I can’t even lie about it. But, the honest truth is that by 8:00 PM each night? I was done. Spent. Tired. The last thing I wanted to do was go read books with my kids. I just wanted life to be easy. I wanted to put them in their rooms…walk away and not deal with it again until morning.

But the reality of that is this… you can’t just pick and choose when you want to be a parent and when you don’t.

I was missing that quality time each evening with them that they were craving. All they wanted was 15 minutes of my undivided attention so that I could read them a few stories. And what? I was so tired I couldn’t, but I was perfectly awake enough to write a blog post or update my Instagram?

I started to realize that those 15-30 minutes of reading books? Meant the world to them. And now? It means the world to me. I look forward to our book time each night.

4. Setting Expectations.

I think this one is so important because it’s all about letting your child know ahead of time what he can expect next. For example, I always tell him “We are going to read 3 books.” Then, after we have finished the first book I say, “We have 2 more books and then it will be time to shut off the lights.” And after the second book, I make sure I say, “This will be the last book we read and then it’s time to go to sleep, ok?”

This way? When it’s time to shut off the lights and go to sleep… he’s not surprised. He understands.

I do this with lots of other areas as well. It works wonders!

I used to avoid giving him expectations because I wanted to detour from a meltdown. I always thought… If I tell him he has to go to sleep next? He’s gonna lose it. But the reality is, it truly helps them understand what you expect of them.

I began doing this when I drop him off for pre-k too. The daycare bus picks him up and takes him to daycare (since pre-k is only half day). He was throwing a huge fit every day and screaming “I WANT MY MOMMY!!!” I realized that I wasn’t telling him each day that he was going to ride the bus. So I began making sure that when I drop him off I say, “Now remember, Miss Kelsey’s bus is going to pick you up today and take you to daycare. Mommy needs you to be a good boy for Miss Kelsey.”

World changer people. World changer. Try it.

5. Praying.

The last thing (which should be listed as the first thing) is asking God for help. Because, for weeks, I tried to do this alone. Like most areas of my life…I think I can do it all by myself. But I never can. God is showing me over and over again that He is present and can help.

To be honest, I finally started praying out of a last resort type of thing. I was breaking and it was my last hope. Funny how we never make prayer our first course of help, right? I begged God to show up. I knew that if He didn’t show up? Nothing would change.

Each night I pray over SJ. I always say to him, “Ok, mommy is going to pray now ok?” He usually smiles and closes his eyes.

I swear, y’all….God moves mountains! I always need to be reminded of that, but it’s so true!

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