“HELLO! Daddy, I need a time out!” yells my two and a half year old into her plastic V-tech cell phone. “I pushed my sister and I need a TIME OUT!”
She continues to climb up onto the rocking chair in the corner of our living room which has been designated by me as this morning’s official calm-down corner. We set a timer for one minute and she waits patiently for the time to run out before getting back up to play. She is calm and collected.
This is NOT your typical chain of events following an act of agression from my toddler. (Hint: It usually involves a battle and tears. She cries sometimes, too.)
When my first little baby grew into a rambunctious toddler, I knew I’d reached a milestone in parenting. My husband and I had some big decisions to make about discipline, and I had many life lessons to learn about parenting.
(HINT #2: I still haven’t figured it all out.)
But one thing quickly became clear to me. My strong-AF-willed toddler could quickly turn me into a reactive, yelling no from the couch all day kind of mom if I didn’t get proactive and creative with discipline.
This week’s creative win? Having imaginary “important phone calls” to discuss the inappropriate behavior at hand.
For example, when I see her push her baby sister down, I come over and say we need to have an important phone call. She is obsessed with phones and making calls right now in life (cue mom-guilt about screen time….but I digress. I’m using it to my advantage!)
She picks up her pretend phone and I pick up mine. I get down on her level and look at her face to face….but now we’ve got our awesome, handy-dandy, exciting phones to help us out.
“Hi, Honey!” I begin. “I just saw you be unkind and we need to talk about it!” The call progresses naturally from there, with her taking the lead and ending up anywhere from her telling Daddy (I guess he joins the call sometimes?!?) she needs a timeout to telling Queen Elsa she needs to go say sorry to her baby sister.
How this works I will never understand. But she is excited about correcting her behavior at best, and distracted with something positive at worst.
You fellow toddler-wrangling mamas know how big of a win something little like this actually is when you are in the daily grind! So for now, I’m milkin’ her love for technology, baby.
And next week when she decides she’s obsessed with My Little Pony? Well….I’ll just have to get creative all over again.
Because that’s what mommies do.