(Catching this series in the middle? No problem. Scroll down and start with Tip 1. Feeling overwhelmed or unsuccessful? That is also no problem. Go back and work on Tips 1 and 2 until they feel really solid.)
So, Prepare Physically for Battle. Do I really mean go to the gym and work out? Well, only sort of. But we all know that we never do our best parenting when we are feeling tired and worn out. So, set yourself up for success by being well rested. Develop a meditation practice or find some simple yoga practices on YouTube. Plan on taking a walk on your lunch hour at work. At home with the kids all day? Nap when they nap. Worried that your new meal time expectations are going to increase the tension for a while? You might even want to sneak in a high protein afternoon snack so that even if your meal is upset, you will have energy to sustain you. Really need a break? Get yourself a babysitter one night and forget to mention the new dinner table policy! Maybe plan a meal in an alternate setting where the rule just won’t come up. A picnic with all finger food would make it mighty hard to hold a phone! Put whatever structure in place you need to sustain your determination to see the new policy through until it becomes a habit. If you are not absolutely convinced this is a rule you want, don’t even start. To build success, you need to start with something you care deeply about. (That is what makes the values clarification piece so important.)
On a slightly different note, some of you have asked about how to create appropriate consequences--that you are ready to enforce them; you just don't know which ones to use. Yes! I admit, I glossed right over that as it is a big topic. Stay tuned, however. I promise that as soon as we are done with the Building Consistency series, I will break down Effective Consequences step by step.