Archive for Daily Routines

In last week’s article, we discussed the first steps to developing a calmer, quieter home. The first three steps focused primarily on what we model, and how to use our own behavior to create a quieter, calmer environment. Those steps were:

1. Give the kids a ‘head’s up’ letting them know changes are coming
2. Explain, “From now on, we will use our legs, not our voice, to get your attention.”
3. Commit, “I will not yell. I will not respond to yelling.”

These steps provide the essential foundation. Next, we need to teach the kids to keep their voices calmer and quieter when playing.

The Sibling Formula: Three Strikes…You’re Out!

1. Establish a loudness limit for play.

Let the kids know that the playing and yelling is out of control. The home is just too loud at times, and you are tired of constantly trying to calm them down.

Let them know that now there will be a ‘loudness limit.’ The loudness limit is the highest volume of sibling play that is acceptable. When the kids play under the loudness limit, you will encourage their play and laughter.

2. Explain, “When you exceed the loudness limit, you will get two calm warnings.”

Further explain, “If you exceed the loudness limit, I will calmly say, “One.” This will be your first notice, that it’s time to calm down, and play more quietly. I will not concern myself with whether you are paying attention closely or not, when I say this. It will be up to you to notice this warning.”

“If you exceed the loudness limit a second time, I will calmly say, “Two.” This will be the second warning for the kids.

3. “If you exceed the limit a third time, you will hear, ‘Strike 3. You’re out.’

This is where the formula gets its teeth. The kids need to learn from a consequence, not more warnings. The first two warnings are given with few words, and a calm voice. This is critical, as this is how we teach the loudness limit more quickly. However, if you get to strike three, then it’s time for action.

a. Let the kids know that whatever they are playing with, at the time of Strike 3, is now lost for 48 hours. This could be a video game, a toy, a set of cards or a game. The TV or IPad could be on. Immediately shut it down, or take it away. It’s gone for 48 hours.

b. Next, send everyone to a separate room, with doors closed, for 10 minutes of quiet. If they talk or make noise, the time starts over again. This is similar to a time out, but not quite as rigid. The goal is a ten minute cool down period, without leaving the room or talking. It will be essential to start the time over, if kids come out or start making noise.

Now, this sounds a bit more complicated that it really is. Give two calm warnings, by walking in the room and giving the number ‘one’ and then ‘two.’ When you reach ‘three’ announce, you’re out! Shut down whatever they are playing with, and mark it GONE FOR 48 HOURS. Then, send all involved to a room for 10” of quiet. Simple, practical…and it works. Pull together both parts of this strategy, and your home will be calmer and quieter! Like every effective parenting strategy, these steps will not work with a ‘try it’ attitude. This requires consistency over time.

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Does the volume of things at home drive you insane? Kids bicker and play so loudly that you want to pull out your hair? Do you dream of family time where you can actually hear yourself think?

How often do you try to calm things down? When you do, do you end up yelling as loudly as the kids? It can really feel like a hopeless situation as the volume increases minute by minute.

Can you really transform your home to an environment where everyone speaks at a normal tone, and no one is yelling or screaming at each other? How about a world free of kids constantly interrupting adult conversations…getting louder and louder as they push for attention?

You can make this happen! And it’s relatively simple!

There are several steps that you can take to reduce the volume of voices in your home. With this, respect and calmer communications are just around the corner. Follow this formula for 30 days. Do so with impeccable consistency, and you will be amazed at the results.

1. Have a talk with your kids: “A change is coming.”

You begin this by sitting down with your kids and letting them know that a change is going to occur in the home. You explain to them that you do not find the family environment to be a peaceful and enjoyable one because things are so loud and everyone screams at one another.

You can also point out how there may be a tendency to have several people talking at once, and that this is disrespectful and creates a chaotic environment.

2. Explain, “From now on, we will use our legs, not our voice, to get your attention.”

Explain to your kids that you have fallen into a bad habit. You have often used your voice to yell loudly across the house to get your kids attention. As a result, they have learned to use their voice to scream across the house to get your attention, or the attention of their siblings.

Let them know that you are going to change this by walking to their location, rather than yelling. Likewise, let them know you will not respond to yelling from the other end of the house. This will be ignored.

In other words, if someone is in the next room, and you can get their attention by simply calling their name at a normal volume, you will do so. However, if you have to yell to communicate to them, it’s time to use your legs.

Key Concept: Use your legs…not your voice…to carry your message across your home. Be a model for what you want from your children.

3. Commit: “I will not yell. I will not responding to yelling.”

Explain to the kids that you have committed yourself to more respectful and calmer ways of talking. This means that you will not raise your voice and yell at them. If you really want a calmer, quieter home, you must be willing to model this calmer way of communicating.

In addition, let the children know that you will no longer respond to any form of yelling or screaming, whether across the room or across the home. Explain, “In other words, don’t yell at us to get our attention. If you need our attention, come and get us and speak in a normal tone of voice. If you decide to yell at us, we will not respond to this. The more you yell, the more we will not respond.”

Please understand how critical it is to be clear about this. You must stop yelling yourself, and use your legs more, if you want attention from across the house. Why? Because this is what you will need, if you want a calmer, quieter home.

Also, you must not yell yourself, and stick to it. This alone, will change the tone of your home very quickly!

In part two of this article, I will explain how to teach the kids to play together without all the yelling and screaming. For now, notice what changes when you lead your children to calmer voices, rather than trying to demand a calmer home.

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      I have tried a variety of things to get my three year olds sleep regulated and it seems she is in between needing and not needing a nap. I have tried to get her up earlier, intending to get her to bed earlier, but usually she can’t make it to bedtime. Then if she takes a nap she won’t be ready to sleep til 11 or later! I try not to travel with her in the car afternoons or evenings because she falls asleep. 

 Ideas???  Help???

Okay, I want to begin with a warning.  This is the second in a series of articles on optimism and happiness, and how we can achieve our goals and really live our dreams

However, this article will not appear to be about optimism initially.  Keep reading please, as it is critical to get that this concept of false hope destroys dreams, and undermines any chance of real happiness.  Read More→


Finding balance in family life

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In a recent email to subcribers, I began a new series of articles with the metaphor that follows.  Because so many people asked questions, I will ask that you first read the story below.  Questions, and my thoughts will follow… Read More→

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About Dr Cale

During the past 23 years, in working with hundreds of families, I began to realize that many parents, just like you, were showing up in my office well-educated—but getting poor results. They had been to therapy, they had read the books and even attended other training programs—yet their children were still not listening, not doing homework and not cooperating.

I discovered that many of these parents were parenting with false ideas about how to predictable and reliably shape and change their children’s behavior. As a result, I began to develop ideas about the core behavior change principles…and how to turn each of these into specific parenting solutions. As long as I was able to stay true to these principles, the most challenging problems quickly faded away.

My purpose with this program is to give you access to the strategies that come from these core principles. By practicing and following through with the techniques in this program, you will be able to transform any set of negative behavior patterns in your home. Your kids will be happier and more responsible. They will quickly learn to be respectful, cooperative and helpful around the house. Tantrums, whining, complaining and negativity will be a thing of the past.