One of our family “Connecting while Correcting” strategies is using a time in/think it over/calm down chair. After sharing a few pictures of a bin of goodies we keep by our chair on Facebook a few months back, I had several mommas ask me to tell them more about this strategy, how we use it, and what is in our bin.
A bit of background is necessary. Mark and I are total believers in Empowered to Connect (ETC) (www.empoweredtoconnect.org). ETC is based on the Trust Based Intervention Model (TBRI) laid out by Dr. Karyn Purvis (http://www.child.tcu.edu/training.asp).
We have seen and experienced great healing and hope in our family and witnessed it in countless other families that use the principles of ETC. We have been parent trainers with ETC for over a year and most of what I share here is taught in the Empowered to Connect Parent Training Course and the ETC conferences (http://empoweredtoconnect.org/conferences/)
…IE these are not my great ideas =).
Rather than typing out the strategies, I am going to include video clips to explain the concepts. If you don’t watch the clips you will not be able to follow my train of thought……
The heart of ETC is that connection is the goal with our kids. Therefore all correction is an opportunity for connection and building trust: http://empoweredtoconnect.org/keeping-connection-as-the-goal/
There is an “IDEAL” responses for the behavior exhibited by our kids. Watch this clip to understand more: http://empoweredtoconnect.org/the-ideal-response-for-parents/
After we understand the idea of an IDEAL response then we move into deciding what the “level of response” should be when we are “connecting while correcting”
The first strategy in responding to behavior is to be playful. We can playfully redirect a child for mild misbehaviors without ever “breaking stride” as Dr. Purvis states in this clip: http://empoweredtoconnect.org/give-your-child-playfulness/
If a playful “try that again buddy” as Dr. Purvis says, does not get things rolling again then you can move into giving your child a choice. It would go something like this “Hey buddy you have a choice, you can put your shoes on or I can help you put them on.” or “I understand you do not want to, but it is time to do your homework you. You have a choice you can do it at the table or in your room.” or “I know you want to stay in your PJs but we need to get dressed for the day. You have a choice, you are welcome to wear this dress or these pants”…you get the idea…you are basically giving your child a “voice” and opening up the chance for them to cooperate with you and what needs to be done but give them little freedom of choice as they do what is being asked. It is very important to NOT use a consequence for one of the choices you give your kiddo….as tempting as that is =)….that is not the heart of this strategy. So you should not say, “You have a choice you can put your shoes on or you __________(fill in with a consequence or loss of privilege)”. Many of us cringe at the idea of shared power but it is vital to our kids!!! http://empoweredtoconnect.org/sharing-power-with-your-child/
If you and your kiddo are still not moving forward together then you can now go to a “time in”.
PLEASE do not use this as a TYPICAL TIME OUT!! That is not how this strategy is used!!! http://empoweredtoconnect.org/using-time-in-instead-of-time-out/ . The “time in/think it over/calm down” chair is not used as a place to punish our kids. It is used as a safe place to regulate, calm down, gather their thoughts, consider what they did, and prepare to repair the relationship. There are no timers used for how long they have to sit, because it is not a punishment. When they are ready then the time is over. When we are able, we sit with our children while they calm down. If we can not sit with them we stay very close by and come to them calmly and compassionately when they are ready to repair. Next to the chair we have a “calming bin” full of a number of items
We included note cards for them to write or draw what they are feeling if they are not able to say it. There are sensory toys, calming toys and a book of verses and encouragement. We were careful not to put anything breakable inside in case it went flying across the room….just keeping it real =). It is safe, playful, refocusing, and calming for the kids and even allows us to fidget and play while we are waiting for them, which very often takes the heightened stress level immediately down. Frankly, there are many times the kids go to “time in” because daddy or I need a minute to take a deep breath before we are calm and ready to be available emotionally to help or kids. This “safe” calm down place has been a huge blessing to our family!!!!
I also want to add…. that after the repair has been made and you and your child are connected again then we do a “re-do”. This takes the child back to the place where the initial misbehavior happened and lets them “try it again” and do it successfully. This gives them not only the opportunity to relearn the correct and expected behavior but it gives us a chance to praise them for making a good choice, using their words to communicate needs, or responding respectfully. It is a beautiful and sweet time….even if is does take a lot of work and time to get to this point. It is WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!
Have more questions??? Feel free to ask =) or spend more time watching clips and reading great resources at www.empoweredtoconnect.org.