As any relatively new mother, my ears always perk up whenever I am in a mommy gathering and trouble-tackling solutions come up in conversation. I have recently been employing a strategy learned from my copy of Love And Logic and it has been working so well for us that I thought I would share!
Anna, like any other 2-almost-3-year-old, is still working through how to deal with frustration and anger, and one of the consistent ways that she would manifest frustration is to grab her toys and books and throw them all to the floor. It would drive me crazy because a) I usually had to be the one to clean them up and b) I wanted to teach her to respect her things and c) I wanted to help her express her anger in more appropriate channels.
Her hot spots for this behavior were the play room, where she would have her downstairs time-outs, and her book shelf in her bedroom, where she would have her upstairs time-outs. Boxes of blocks would be dumped out on the floor, entire racks of puzzles would be poured out, and all of the book shelves would be cleared if Anna was throwing a tantrum! Well, luckily for me, the Love and Logic book addressed this very concern.
Based on advice from the book, I started implementing a "Bye-Bye Bag". As soon as Anna starts demolishing, I very calmly say, "Anna...I know you are frustrated. But we don't treat our things this way. Do you want to stop throwing them or do you want to say bye-bye?" Now, at first, she just looked at me like I was crazy and kept throwing her stuff on the floor. So I calmly said, "Okay, we will say bye-bye." And I picked up a bag (I use the Publix reusable grocery bags) and I scoop up everything on the floor and I hide it away in a closet. Holy cow did she howl the first few times I did this. You would have thought I was poking her with a hot poker. But the good news is that she learned quickly!
Now, if she starts throwing her stuff on the floor, all I have to do is calmly say "Okay, do you want to clean up your toys/books/puzzles or do you want me to do it and we'll say bye-bye?" If she keeps throwing her stuff, I say "Okay, I'm counting to 10 and everything on the floor is going bye-bye" and I go get a bag. I count to 10 so she can hear me. If I get to 10 and Anna hasn't started cleaning up, I calmly say, "Okay, bye-bye. I'm so sorry. I don't like taking away your toys but I also don't like cleaning up messes and it makes me sad when you throw your nice things on the ground."
I then give her chances to earn back her things, usually by helping to pick up her room or the play room. If she doesn't help me clean (I always give her the choice) then I keep her toys.
I am pleased to report that I have only had to actually take away her things once in the past month. And most importantly, this calms down a tantrum very quickly...I would have to say that this is very effective for us. Thank you Love & Logic!!