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Mommy’s helper is the new time out.

*Editor’s note (aka, afterthought): One of the 12 people that reads this pointed out that lots of babies are biters. Mine didn’t try until they were older (around three I think) which is a whole other ball game, discipline wise. And to make you feel better if you had a biter, Smush pulled her sister’s hair regularly, Punkin tried to discipline me back when she got in trouble, and Goo still screams uncontrollably on a regular basis. A few teeth marks don’t seem so bad now…*

Virtually every American family is familiar with the time-out. When executed perfectly, they are extremely effective. “Perfectly” does not include chatting with your child the whole time they’re in TO like they’re on the Geraldo Rivera show.

Side note: Wow, I’m old.

Geraldo Rivera

Welcome! You’re in time out! Tell me, what brings you here today? (Photo credit: Island Capture Photography)

The other day, Goo and Smush were arguing. Goo got all fired up (shocker) and – this actually is shocking – bit her. None of my kids have ever been biters, because the first time they did it, I made sure they knew it would be the last. Apparently Goo needed a reminder.

Besides the usual “No biting. It hurts and it’s not nice,” spiel, I had a stroke of genius and came up with the perfect punishment. Goo is Smush’s big sister, and as a big sister she should love and help Smush and not antagonize her every second of every day do things that could be hurtful.

For this, I told her she had to spend the day being Smush’s big helper: remembering what it means to be a sister and helping Smush whenever needed. It worked perfectly. Besides having no follow-up biting incidents, this happened:

Goo loves to be the big helper, and she took on the roll full swing. And then I started hearing things like, “No, Mommy. I’m the big fister helper today. I have to get Smush’s socks and shoes and diaper.”

Then came, “I’ll get her milk in a sippie cup, Mommy! I’m the big fister helper today!”

Side note: Goo actually says, “fister,” for sister, but in her case it’s kind of fitting because she’s terrifying and the whole fist image works.

And then I realized that I had essentially created a punishment that gave me the day off turned Goo into my big helper.

Why did I not think of this before? We could totally run with this, you guys.

Punkin leaves her brand new clothes all over the floor? Laundry duty to remember how much work it takes to make sure she has good clothes to wear.

Smush pours her milk on the floor for the 5,734th time to see gravity in effect? You’re mopping the floor, girlfriend. With a baby mop, because you’re still little.

Note to self: get baby mop.

All joking aside, sometimes creative discipline is the most effective. And discipline that leaves me with less work? Winning.


About Mediocre Mom

I am a wife to the man who was made for me, and mom to three amazing girls: Punkin is eight, Goo is four, and Smush is two. I'm a Christian, a science geek, and completely addicted to coffee. Trying to stay sane one day at a time. Lowering the bar for moms everywhere.

3 responses »

  1. is working like a charm for my eight-year old who refuses to sit down to pee ….. when he misses his mark (regularly!) — i hand him some clorox or lysol wipes and let him have at it! ….. afterall, it is his pee! I have to say ….. he must be taking better aim these days 🙂

    • Haha! It’s amazing what happens when they suddenly have to clean it up themselves, huh? Today marks the day that I start making Smush clean up all her “accidental” spills (which are not accidental). Maybe she’ll stop testing gravity with her milk.

  2. p.s. love the “helper” idea …. wonder if it would work with teenagers ….. i’ll keep you posted !


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