Parenting is such a tough job. I am continually looking for ways to bring more peace and calm into our home.

My husband and I, after 19 years of parenting, 5 of our own children, and 35 foster children, have plenty of practice parenting. Yet one thing I’ll say is this — we can never know enough about how to be a good parent. There is always more to learn.

Our youngest two children have intense behavioral, emotional, and medical needs. Let’s just say in the last year they’ve challenged us to up our parenting game to a whole new level.

The cool thing about kids is that if we make a mistake with our parenting style, we are pretty much guaranteed our children will repeat their problem behaviors, so we’ll get plenty more chances to make corrections.

My children are masters at this. They have given me so many chances to make adaptations to my parenting style in the last year! Someday (years from now when I’m a wee bit calmer), I will thank them for this.

Mike and I are fortunate to receive coaching from highly experienced experts in working with children with tough behaviors.* While it’s true some of these techniques are unique for traumatized children, honestly most of them are just good, basic parenting turned up a notch (or two or ten) on the accountability scale.

Here are three of the best changes we’ve made in the last 6 months which have made a tremendous difference in our household. These are not miracle cures, but we have seen significant differences since using these, and I wish I had started them much sooner.

3 Parenting Strategies that Will Bring Peace to Your Home Within Days: Part 1

1. Create a Special Spot for Each Child

We always seem to have a time of chaos during transitions. There’s that time right before we are getting ready to go somewhere when I am running around getting things packed up to go. We have it again when we come home and I’m getting unpacked. We have these times throughout the day too when I get busy with this or that. Kids are amazingly intuitive and will use my busy times to create their little tornadoes of chaos.

This works great too when I am dealing with one child’s needs and the other child gets into something he shouldn’t, or when the phone rings or when I have an unexpected visitor.

This idea is so simple, yet has been amazingly effective. Each child has their Special Spot where they are assigned to go when I say “Go to your Special Spot.” This is not a punishment or a time-out. We have a few books and toys (no more than a couple items) at each child’s place. Paul’s place is in the living room between the piano and the bookshelf. Zack’s spot is in the family room next to the bookshelf and fireplace.

Note their places are in different rooms, but within my sight. I don’t want to send them to their rooms since I prefer they be in my line of sight, and I don’t want them to think this is a punishment.

However, I don’t want them within sight of each other. They would start to make faces, throw toys, or generally bother one another.

We’ve taught the boys that when we come home after being out of the house, we have the exact same routine. They put their shoes away and then each goes to their special spot, every single time. Then Mike or I can start bedtime, put away groceries, or move into whatever the next activity.

Paul's Special Spot. This isn't a time out or punishment.

One Special Spot. This isn’t a time out or punishment.

Zack's Special Spot. This isn't a time-out or punishment.

Another Special Spot. This isn’t a time-out or punishment.

Our kids are currently elementary school age. For really little ones, try putting them in a high chair or exersaucer with a few toys and a soft book.

A chair with a couple books nearby could also be used instead of a place on the floor for older kids, such as a teen with special needs.

Our kids don’t spend a long time in this place — 10-15 minutes typically. They are allowed to talk, but they do not get up without first asking for permission.

Check back next week for Strategies #2 and #3 that will bring peace to your home!

What strategies have worked for you for easing times of transition?
3 Parenting StrategiesThese are some of the resources we are using for our parenting techniques:

Bob Greene, The Explosive Child

Nancy Thomas, When Love is Not Enough

Nancy Thomas, Healing Trust: Rebuilding the Broken Bond

Bruce Perry, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook

FREE Parenting Hacks!

*FREE Smart Parenting Hacks Printables

*10 Printables: House Rules, Lunch Box Notes, Chores, Family Technology Agreement, Clean Eating for Kids.

*Calmer Kids = Happier You!

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