06 August 2009

1-2-3 Cool It Refresher

8 years ago I started using a modified 1-2-3 consequence/time out technique and it was life changing. At the time, my 3 year old was throwing major tantrums, whining, and not doing anything independently, it was a daily trial.

The main premise of the technique is that using the technique will eliminate the battle of wills that occurs when parent and child are on opposite sides of an issue.

For instance:

"Mom, I'm hungry, can I have a snack?"

"Dinner is in an hour, so you need to wait."

"But I'm so hungry."

"Sorry sweetheart."

"But I want something. If you don't feed me, I'll starve..."

I probably don't need to go on, we've all been through it and it lasts for the entire hour leading up to dinner. Using the cool it, 1-2-3 technique, you put an end to the madness! The key is to use it consistently and not waver from it.

"Mom, I'm hungry, can I have a snack."

"Dinner is in an hour, sweetheart, so no."

"But I'm starving."

"That's 1." Say it calmly and matter of factly. No need for an explanation, your child knows why you are saying it.

"But, Mom..."

"That's 2."

If you get to 3, the child pays a consequence. A time out of 1 minute per year of age might be appropriate, but whatever it is, it should be consistant and fair.

In our house, we also use the technique for ongoing problems, like whining. Kids seem to enter the whining stage at age 5. I institute the 3 strikes and your out method to attempt to minimize the whining. The child gets 3 strikes per day. The rules are discussed ahead of time, so it's not a surprise when the child gets his first strike. If he gets 3 strikes, a consequence that is meaningful to the individual is given. Right now, loss of video game time is the most common consequence.

When I use the method consistantly it is very effective. The key is to always use it so the child knows what to expect.

As I type this entry, I am using it! My 8 year old is asking for a snack and dinner is in 45 minutes. He asked for a snack, I said "no" he protested, so I said, "that's 1," and he stopped! It's a little trickier with the 5 year old.

Coming soon...

Time outs- what works and what does not work...

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