Chocolate Chip Bath
Not a bath filled with chocolate chips, good people, though - I am not opposed. This one hails from Sandy. It takes a village to raise a child and we are constantly gleaning ideas from each other on parenting (or I am just watching how she graciously and beautifully handles super difficult moments and copying her whispers to her children, keeping their dignity, instead of yelling....or putting the problem solving back in their court....).
She just read a book on celebrating small steps with those big hard tantrums.
Our big hard tantrum: Bath time.
Picture it: Warm bath. Fresh bubbles. New tub. Robby playing and laughing and loving the water. He's Singing. It's Serene. Placid. No threat of a bomb in sight.
Enter: The washcloth. The bomb. The fear. The terror. NO WASHING!!!! DRAMA! You've heard me mention this before.
Contradiction: He loves water. He hates washing. Whatsamommatado?
Length: Drama has been going on for over a year. We've tried it all.
Idea: Break it down. Each and every part so he can win at little things for the whole bath. We had been giving him a sticker if he had an entire "non-whiney" bath - which was a big deal and a lot to accomplish.
New plan: I lined up 6 chocolate chips. In order to get one chip (which he loves), he has to hand me a limb of his choice and hold it with out pulling away while saying: "Thanks for washing me!". If he can do that with one arm: chip. Then the other arm: chip. Each leg. Then his hair. Then a wipe off of his face. 6 chips to earn. And he gets them after each one.
The results: This is truly astonishing! He smiles, sings "thanks for washing me!" and is too busy munching on chips to notice that he is sweetly holding out his next limb for a wash. He gets to choose the body part, too. Washing his head is the hardest part - but all he does is just kinda loudly say "THANKS FOR WASHING ME!!!" because he's holding in wanting to actually scream. His willpower has greatly increased.
Incrementalism: We will slowly give him one chip for 2 arms and one chip for 2 legs and slowly 1 chip for the whole bath. But right now, 6 chips is the best solution.
I wracked my brain on how to break something like this down (how you do break down a bath to win at small ways?) but I really think God gave me the grace and idea. It used to truly ruin sweet nights for our family, ending in tears (for everyone) Not anymore.
What tantrum do you need to break down with small rewards - alongside the big picture? We keep the big picture going, too. At the end of his 6 chip bath - he gets a sticker if he gets all 6 chips. He hasn't failed yet, and we are going on 2 weeks.
May you break the big things down, in your life, and celebrate with sweet meaningful things.