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Don’t Miss Out!

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Don’t Miss Out!

Why have a 3 minute time-out at home, when you can spend 10 minutes missing out on swimming, while watching your friends play in the pool? Mama is trying some creative strategies to motivate my strong-willed toddler to comply to my requests for trivial things like EAT YOUR BREAKFAST!

The day began with a 2 hour battle of “eat your breakfast so we can go swimming with your friends.” I almost said, “if you don’t eat, we’re not going,” but it was hot so I wanted to go swimming.

Monkey wanted in the baby’s highchair, which was convenient. After buckling her in, I told her she could stay there until she finished breakfast. Dada was home, so I took the baby to check the mail and take out the trash, because Monkey enjoys those activities and missing out motivated her to finish her breakfast.

Then I explained to her how she really hassled me about eating breakfast, which was not fun for me, so she was going to experience something not fun for her. Yes, I could just put her in time-out at home, but sometimes she doesn’t care, because she thinks, “I can disobey all I want, as long as I do my time-out later.” Clearly 3 minutes of time-out is not painful enough. And sometimes it’s time to leave to go someplace and I don’t have to time to put my kid in “time-out” so I tried what I hoped would be a more painfully memorable “time-out.”

I told Monkey: When we get to the pool, I’m setting a timer for 10 minutes. You are going to sit in your stroller and miss out, while Baby & I go swimming with our friends. If you sit quietly in the stroller, than when the timer goes beep-beep-beep, you can go swimming too! But if you hassle me during your miss-out time, then when the timer goes beep-beep-beep, we are going home, and you will not get to go swimming at all today.

I explained it to Monkey about 25 times, to make sure she understood.

I had also told Monkey one of her favorite friends would be going swimming with us, only to discover he wasn’t coming after-all. I sort-of lied to Monkey, “maybe he can’t go swimming because he hassled his mama too much, and now he had to miss out on something fun. Do you want to miss out on swimming too?” So Monkey knew all the Mama’s are serious about missing-out today.

We got to the pool and Monkey sat in the stroller laughing and pointing at her friends swimming. It was the best time-out ever! For the first 8 minutes. Then she out-smarted my system. “I need to go potty!” She’s done this before during time-out, so I know she is completely capable of peeing right then and there, as a way of getting even with me for putting her in time-out.

Honey, can you wait 2 more minutes and finish your time-out? You only have a short, small, little time-out left. Or do you want to go potty right now and do another big, long, time-out. She opted to “go potty now.” I was afraid once I let her out of the stroller, I wouldn’t be able to get her back in, but she complied and served another 5 minutes of missing out on swimming.

Once the timer went beep-beep-beep, she was thrilled to finally get in the pool. So I think it worked.

When it came time to go home, Monkey said, “no, I want miss-out in the swimming pool. You set timer for 10 minutes, ok?” I heard someplace that it’s not nice to announce “time to go home now,” aparently kids prefer having a 5 minute warning that it’s almost time to go. “Ok, I’ll set a timer for 5 minutes and when the timer goes beep-beep-beep, it’s time to get out of the pool and go home, OK?” Nope, Mama had to carry her out of the pool.

In the days since then, whoever I ask Monkey “Are you sure you want to hassle Mama? If you hassle Mama, you’re going to have miss-out time later.” She now says “Yes! I want miss-out time at the swimming pool!” 

Becky is wife to Duane, mama to "Monkey-girl" and baby "Lioness" aka "PipSqueek." She is the administrative powerhouse for YWAM Bend and keeps our team grounded and organized. Her hope is to inspire and encourage other mamas in their journey to raise healthy, thriving families.
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