Alright, so I really had some reservations about sharing this post. I came to the realization that it was healthy and good to share the so called "real" struggles as a parent. Let's face it child rearing is hard! Besides this is a positive post about how we found a solution. Not a negative rant!
Sophia had been acting out and we had been dealing with a lot of negative behavior for the last year. We called it the "I have a new sibling syndrome" and then some of it is just naturally the age. Think about it, how hard does that have to be on them? They go from being the center of attention to feeling totally displaced. Goodness I would act out too!
We (Keith, husband) did try to spend alone time and do special "date nights" with Sophia but, it still was not helping change the bad behavior. While visiting my sister we were talking with her sister in law Angie about how hard this age frame (3-4) is. Angie is a preschool teacher, so she is used to dealing with this age everyday. She suggested a Behavior chart. Hmm..... I was not so sure at first as I had thought that it was rewarding the bad behavior. I learned it was more about reinforcing the good things and modifying the bad behavior.
When I got home I searched the web for charts and found this one. It's simple, visual and easy for Sophia to see the goal she is after. After Sophia fills all the lady bugs spots with stickers, she gets to pick one special treat from her "Treasure Box." I filled it with candy, a small coloring book and little things she loves. Each treasure under $3.
I also did some behavior modification of my own. I stopped venting to Keith about the struggles of the day. I noticed that Sophia started saying "Mom tell daddy about what I did." Meaning the bad things she did that day. Broke my heart realizing a big part of the problem was me. Hey, it's a learning process for parents too! We are making a point to praise her and talk about all the good thing she does during the day every night. You should just see the big smile on that sweet face and how she lights up when when do.
I'm happy to report that Sophia is doing great! She has turned a corner and even my mother-in-law has noticed. She is on her third chart in less then four weeks! She is using her manors all the time, sharing toys with her brother with out being asked, less whining, and I see her tender side again. Makes me tear up just telling you about it! We are so proud of her and best of all she is so proud of herself too!