Before we jump in – I just want to let you know if you’re in Minnesota: please come out for my first summer library show this Saturday:
Saturday, June 29th
10:30 am Miss Nina Solo Show
So here we are in Week Three of my Summer Series on Routines. If you happened to have missed it, this series began after I shared about my years of Parenting Fails with Piper’s bedtime, and then the power of establishing a *new* bedtime routine!
At the same time I was hitting my wall with Piper’s “Night-night” situation – I was also having issues with our dog, Biscuit.
We “rescued” Biscuit a couple of years ago. Up until then I had only had cats as pets. He’s about the size and weight of full grown house cat (a 14 pound Chihuahua-Terrier mix), and home acts like one. Just sits on my lap, etc….. But outside – he’s a nightmare. He barks and goes nuts at the sight of other dogs. Jumping in the air, flipping – it’s CRAZY! And I walk him several times a day – so it’s alway a thing.
And those walks – omg. Like it seems he was needing a walk 4 to 5 times a day at one point! So when we got our new home I was excited about our FENCED IN BACKYARD! Omg – it’s a beautiful backyard. And I thought how great this will be because in the morning I can just open the door and let him out! I won’t need to walk him so much.
But, like, no. No. Not only does he not just go out on his own. He started going to the bathroom in the house. On the carpet. O.M.G.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So – this is whereI wake up and realized that the common thing between Piper’s bedtime issues and Biscuit’s walking and bathroom issues is: ME. (gulp.)
And what became crystal clear was this: If I wasn’t leading/establishing a routine – then THEY were.
With Piper – without me clearly – and lovingly – stating and showing her what the bedtime routine was (which is now: 10 minute bath, teeth, story, snuggles and goodnight – down to 30 minutes from start to finish!!!), then she’s going to establish her own routine, Which was the routine of always asking for more and a routine that involved what a six year old thinks is best for her versus what and adult KNOWS is best for her.
And likewise, at our last doggie class people asked “how do you get your dog to tell you when s/he needs to go out?”. And the teacher said: she won’t. YOU establish when and how often you go out. You take them out every four or six hours (or what have you), and after a two or three months they understand that and expect their walks at certain times. But when training a dog – YOU establish for your dog the rules and then follow them and train daily. Unfortunately, letting Biscuit take the lead, a routine of, like, five walks a day had been established!
And finally – the thing I noticed that both the dog trainer and the parenting book I’m reading focused on is: ENCOURAGEMENT. The dog only responds to reinforcement and encouragement by rewards. You gotta have a really good treat that he loves, And the training happens in very small steps. And every tiny step is rewarded along the way.
And with kids – it’s not treats – but it IS encouragement. Keeping a super positive attitude at bedtime was the key for our big change. When Piper would she start whining “I’m scared” when it was time for me to leave her room (when she was clearly not truly scared) I simply smile and blast her with love and say “you’ve got this! I have confidence in you. You’re so good at our new bedtime thing. I love you like crazy!” And IT HAS WORKED! I am no longer laying with my child for hours until she falls asleep. I walk out of her room and she falls asleep on her own.
So back in those teaching days – a parent in my class was struggling with her child getting into the habit of washing his hands before he ate. So she asked me to write a song about it that we could sing in class while we washed our hands before snack, and she could use it home. And so I did! I”m sharing that one song and video this week because like I just experienced with both Piper and Biscuit – WE have to establish and model the behavior or habit that we are teaching our children (and dogs), and practice and encourage it! So, here’s a song and hand washing routine to help your children have the habit of washing their hands before they eat:
So – did any of this resonate with you? Any parenting – or dog training wins – you want to share below? I’d love to hear about them. And if. you liked this post and/or video – please share it with anyone else who might get value from it.