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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Code Word

So before Christmas I told you about a new and exciting code word in our home. It originated because my sister and her kids were over, and we realized that every rule we have in our house went out the window as soon as other kids stepped through our door. We don't expect other kids to come into our house and follow these rules, but we do expect our kids to maintain at least some standard of civility when people come over.

The problem arises when we are trying to hold an adult conversation, and we constantly have to stop to discipline our kids. And then, when we do try to discipline them, they start pleading their cases and insisting that they didn't do anything wrong, they weren't at fault, they are perfect little angels. The last thing we want to do when we're talking to people is have to keep interrupting our conversations to deal with whatever it is the kids are doing.

So Superman, being the brilliant man that he is, came up with the idea of a code word. A word that we could use at any time. At home, in the car, at the store, at a carnival, or at a funeral. Something that would stop our kids in their tracks.

That word, for us, is silence.

The day we decided to institute it, we had the kids practice over and over. And over. We planned scenarios. The phone rang, and we would say "silence." The rule is that when we are home and we say that word, the kids go to their rooms, no questions asked, no complaining, and close their doors. They are not allowed to ask questions. They are not allowed to plead their case. We have let them know they can ask questions after they come out of their rooms. We pretended someone was knocking at the door, and we said, "silence." We told the kids to start running around like crazy people and we said, "silence." Superman even got in the car and told the kids, "silence."

Now, the rule in the car is that when they hear the word, they close their eyes, put their hands in their laps and wait for us to tell them it's ok to open their eyes again.

We tried it at my in-laws. We assigned each of the kids a "spot" in the house, and when we said the word, they all ran to their spots.

We tried it at the mall. When we said the word, they all stood right by us, hands together, lips sealed.

Now, to be fair, in the beginning they found it fun. They were rewarded with an M&M for doing it right. But after the rewards stopped, for some reason they weren't as excited.

However, the word is magic. It doesn't work for long periods of time in the car or out of the house, but it does reign them in long enough that it's like resetting them.

At home it's awesome. They all go to their rooms, and so far, they've done great. They're not allowed to ask us if they can come out. They can go to the bathroom, quietly, and then go back.

So, now I just need my sister to come over with her kids so I can test it out fo' real. It will be the ultimate accomplishment if they all go to their rooms when told when their cousins are here.


Lisa said...

Love it! Ours is "now". Works like a charm and life is blissfully quiet for just a bit.
Thanks for sharing!

:)De said...

I love using the word here too. I tend to give my kids lots of "voice" because when I was a kid I never was allowed to ask questions or explain. So it makes my parents crazy when I discuss behavior with my kids. BUT!!! When I say, "Silence!" the rule is that I am the only one talking and it is over. Let us know how the ultimate test goes.


MomInTheTrench said...

I love it. I gave you an award. C'mon over to get it.

Lisa said...

Gotcha! Come on over to K's blog and pick up your award. Dang. Mom in the Trench beat me. :(

Robin said...

Brilliant idea!

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Silence. I like it. I will have to try it!

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