Thursday, July 11, 2013

The 4 because I'm Four Rule

4 Because I'm four

Preschooler logic is simple, straightforward and generally innocent. This is not always a good thing, but the 4 Because I'm Four rule takes advantage of our little ones need for power and our need for control.

Here's an example of 4 Because I'm four being the ultimate negotiating tool; on occasion Bolt will wrangle the bag of mini marshmallows out of the cupboard while I'm cooking dinner and although I don't want him to have treats, if I fully refuse him screaming, hitting and general chaos will ensue, which will negatively affect my ability to make dinner and ultimately result in hungrier, grumpier children.

So instead of just saying no, I start by reminding Bolt that I'm making dinner and we don't really need any snacks. When he assures me that the sky will surely fall if he doesn't have a marshmallow, I ask him how old he is. With great pride he will inform me that he is four and when I suggest that must mean he needs 4 mini marshmallows he tells me what a great idea I've had. Within moments the crisis has been averted; he happily runs off with 4 mini marshmallows in his grubby little hands and I finish cooking dinner in peace. It's truly win-win as far as I'm concerned.

I'm a firm believer in choosing your battles and 4 Because I'm four is a great compromise. It has almost infinite potential to be applied to negotiations with your child:
  • 4 books before bed
  • 4 vegetables before dessert
  • 4 toys each when sharing
  • 4 MORE minutes of snuggles
  • 4 MORE minutes of TV/computer
  • 4 treats
It's a simple rule, that we started about a year ago (and of course back then it was 3 because I'm three) but this simple concept has gone a long way to tame the frustration in our household.

Try it, you might be surprised. 4 Because I'm four is a great rule for preschoolers and toddlers alike.

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