We have always tried to be consistent with our expectations for our girls. We want them to know that their actions will have consequences, positive or negative. To that end, we try to be very specific about what the consequences for a specific action will be. For example, Staley knows that if Miss Meagan tells me that she was a good listener and did not have to sit in time out, then Staley gets fruit snacks on the way home. (Score!) She also knows that if she throws her fruit snack wrapper on the floor of the car instead of handing it to me, then she will not get any snack the next time we are in the car. (Bummer!) When Staley is not listening or being sassy or breaking a rule, we try to be very clear about setting a consequence, making sure she understands the consequence, and then following through if needed.
Staley has caught onto this spelling-out-the-consequences routine. And lately, she has been very specific about telling us what the consequences of our actions will be. She doesn't do it in a crying or yelling or even in a sassy way. Just like we try to do, she is very matter-of-fact about the consequences she's giving us.
The other night at bedtime, my very tired little girl told Zach: "If you put me in bed, I am not going to sleep...AT ALL." The other evening, Staley asked what we were having for dinner. I told her we were having soup. She responded matter-of-factly, "If you give me soup, I'm not going to eat it." And a few days ago, Staley wanted me to read her another book before rest time. When I told her that we had already read our rest time books and it was time to rest, she started crying. I told her, "If you cry about rest time, then I will take your books out of your bed and you can just take a nap instead." She responded to my consequence with one of her own by saying, "If you take my books out of my bed, I will get out of bed, turn on my little light, and get some more books." She had me in a tricky spot, because that was definitely something she'd be able to do. I just told her that we wouldn't have to worry about that if she stopped crying and rested nicely. Luckily, she did.
Staley has always been quick on her feet and ready with an excuse. Now she's thinking ahead and letting us know what the consequences of our actions might be. Luckily, she's still young enough that, regardless of what she says, our consequences trump hers so she's still sleeping at night, eating what is on her plate at dinner, and resting without crying. For now.