So, after 11 1/2 years and 6 kids you would think that I have parenting down pat, but I am always learning new things (or am being reminded of things I used to do, but have gotten out of practice). In fact, I learn from Tami and Andrea with their two year olds and new little babies all the time. The other day, Andrea was telling me she enforced time out with my niece and (surprise) it was just what I needed for Joseph.
Tami is here visiting me and yesterday she was telling her little girl she could have popcorn after she picked up the crayons. She told me that her coach (helping Madison stay on track developmentally despite being deaf) told her to hold up the right number of fingers and count off what you want them to do as you point (IE first pick up crayons, then eat popcorn). Laughing, I called over to Matthew: "Matthew first, pick up crayons, then you can have popcorn," pointing on my fingers. I kid you not, he looked over at me, shrugged, and started picking up crayons. When he was done he walked over to the microwave and waited for his popcorn.
Now, if you had asked me, I would have told you he was too little to understand being asked to do chores (I guess that is what happens when you're the youngest, I am sure I thought my oldest was practically an adult by the time she turned two). But my youngest sibling taught me a valuable technique and showed me it is time for Matthew to join the chore world of his brothers and sisters.
So, here is where I need advice. I know that I have taught 4 kids how to go to bed. I know because we do it every night (although not always perfectly, they all sleep in their beds- or at least their rooms). Somehow I have forgotten how to teach this trick. In our first rental here in CT (which was furnished) the bedrooms were dark, scary, and the beds were not overly comfortable. Matthew slept in the extra bed in Elise's room and Joseph (scared to be alone) slept with whomever would let him. Now that we are here and have our furniture, those two boys are together in a room, but never sleep there. Every night they are in someone else's room. So how do I get two to go to bed at a reasonable time in their own room? Any suggestions welcome (I am willing to consider hog tying, but would prefer a gentler method!) And the other four have gotten lax about going to bed on time so I wouldn't mind suggestion for older kids, too.