Creativity expert, professor, father and former day care provider Rustin Wolfe writes a weekly MinnMoms parenting advice column that uses creative punishments to put a positive spin on negative behavior.
Here's one of his creative solutions:
DON'T BUCKLE ON BUCKLING
Question: How can I prevent my 3-year-old from unbuckling his seat belt?
Behavior: Unbuckling seat belt.
Problem: Unsafe while car is moving.
Solution: He already knows how to open the buckle. He needs to learn when it's appropriate to do so. The behavior isn't generally bad.
Activity: Assess his motive. Ask him why he's doing it. Is he acting out? Is he curious? Is he uncomfortable? Have you explained the importance to him? When you catch him, pull over. While you're re-buckling him, you can highlight the concerns and you can further point out that he's making the trip take longer. I'd repeatedly check how he's doing the rest of the way. If he remains buckled, actively encourage him to unbuckle himself upon arrival. It's a reward. Offer plenty of positive reinforcement: When you enter your destination, tell everyone how proud you are of him, unbuckling himself like a big boy. If he remains curious, provide some time to experiment safely. You could let him play in the back seat while the car is stopped. Get it out of his system. Then reiterate that that is not allowed once the car is moving.
-- Want Rustin's solution for your child's challenging behavior? Send questions to email@example.com.
-- Read the Naughty Column archive at minnmoms.com/naughtycolumn.