When I think of the word practice, it reminds me of the saying that practice makes perfect. I soon realized that practice meant a whole lot more. I also thought this tool card meant to give children practice, but realized I’m the one who needs to practice the tools I learn.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to practice getting my 22-month old son to sleep in his own bed. I was wondering why it was taking more than a couple of weeks for my son to stay in his bed? It’s amazing to me how memories can be so selective. I don’t remember having to go through this bedtime hassle with my other two children (but my husband does). After a very long 3-weeks of doing all the wrong things, I was reminded that practice for me was mostly about perseverance and a lot of patience.
So on day three I reread my Positive Discipline book to remind me of exactly what I needed to do: 1) be consistent, 2) follow through, 3) use the least amount of words possible, 4) stay calm, and 5) make sure the message of love gets through. I realized that practice was also an extension of establishing a routine and taking time for training.
A lot of the training was more about me rather than my baby. I found myself mostly being inconsistent. Inconsistent with my patience, energy and even more confusing, the routine of him going to and then staying in his bed. I wasn’t following through with saying few words, so I scripted, “I love you and it’s time to go to sleep.”
He didn’t want to stay in bed and I was adamant about him falling asleep in his “big boy bed.” Saying I love you, helped me to stay calm, and helped us both with our frustration.
How could I have forgotten important details of having a predictable schedule? How could I have forgotten how important it is to have a script and positive energy with lots of patience?
Once I created a routine, took deep breaths to remind me to be patient, and repeated the few words time; we practiced for less than 3-days. I’m on day 10 and I can finally say that all the practice paid off—until we went on vacation and stayed in a hotel and messed up our routine.
Oh well, time to practice again.