The potty talk going on at my house lately is killing me. I'm not talking solely about swearing. I am talking about words like poo poo face and chicken butt. I hate them!
If you have a five-year-old, then most likely you know what I am talking about.
What do you do to stop it? What works at your house? Do you hate it too? Or is it just me?
Things that don't work at our house... because I've tried them all.
1. Praising the kids that aren't using potty talk
Me: "Wow, baby Ryan is using such good language."
Andrew: "Uh, mom, baby Ryan can't talk."
Exactly what the kids wanted. They love to push my buttons and see me get angry. It leads to silly poorly thought out threats and frustration for everyone. Win for the kids.
3. Having the kids go into the bathroom to let all their potty words out
At some point we do have to leave the house. Also, my son almost kicked the bathroom door down when I tried this. I don't believe in time out... so this strategy doesn't work for me either. I do however believe in "time in" so I need to incorporate that somehow.
4. Washing their mouths out with soap
Can't get myself to do it. I think it is mean.
5. Sending the kids to their rooms.
Honestly I have actually done this at my wits end... and it actually just reinforced the behavior. They love their rooms and would rather be there when I am grumpy anyway.
6. Laughing at them.
Yep, that doesn't work either. 😉 Sometimes I can't help myself though.
Here's what I AM trying...
1. Ignoring it and reacting positively to the good words my kids DO use.
I get less annoyed, they say more good things... it is a win win.
2. Having some sort of set consequence when they do use potty talk. (like when they teach their 2-year-old cousin to say, "chicken butt"--- ugh! 🙁 I am seriously not a terrible mom... I promise)
Um... I'm still figuring this out. What do you do?
I think I'm going to start having my 5-year-old pay me for every potty word he uses with his "work pay" money. I have no clue what to do for the 2.5-year-old though. She is still a loose cannon.
3. Make a visual reward chard
This week we're reading The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, so we made a Gruffalo good words reward chart. Throughout the day I try and catch the kids using good words. We talk about what good words are and then I ignore the potty words and only focus on the good ones. When I catch the kids using good words then they get to fill in a branch on their tree. We each have a tree to fill up. Once they are filled we get to do a fun activity together.
My goal is to use kind quiet words (instead of yelling) and the goal for the kids is to use other more grown up words to describe things (instead of potty talk).
The upside is that I remember to look for good behavior (and be on my best behavior too) and the kids remind me.
The downside is that we only have our chart in the house... and it only works when I look for the positive. Also, sometimes the immediate gratification that comes from using potty words and making other siblings laugh trumps any other reinforcement I have to offer. At least my kids like each other, right?
I'll let you know how it goes.
4. Being even more wary of media
My daughter learned how to say "stupid" and "shut up" by watching Pixar's A Bugs Life. I thought it was a cute show... and it is... but now the few scenes with inappropriate words get replayed constantly in her play, conversation, and in social interactions. You never know what words your kids will latch on to... so avoid using them yourself and avoid letting them hear them in media until they are older and more capable of censoring themselves/having self control. I got to be reminded of that the hard way... and now my sweet 2 year old calls me stupid from time to time. Boo! 🙁
You obviously can't censor your environment or the people around you all the time either...
5. Telling myself this is only a stage
One that hopefully ends soon.
6. Trying my best
If other parents want to judge me that is their prerogative. As long as I am using good words and teaching my kids what I consider to be good words for our family to use... that is all I can realistically do. I need to let myself be ok with that and not let it get me overly frustrated. I can't strap the kids down or ban them from being around other kids forever. I can't force my kid not to swear or use potty talk. I can love them and enjoy spending time with them and commend them when they are making good choices... and I would hope they will eventually jump on board and make me proud and use the good language that I expect from them.
I love all these tips from Positive Parenting Solutions that I found today as well.
What else would you add?
What do you do about potty talk at your house? Any tips for me?
By the way, it is Forest Fun Week for Virtual Book Club Summer Camp! We are having so much fun playing and learning with The Gruffalo and we are going on fun #gruffaloadventures!
You can join in too with the Gruffalo Adventures coloring contest. Check out the details and come participate! You could win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Gruffalo puppet! NCircle and The Gruffalo are some awesome #vbcsummercamp sponsors... so "like" their FB page and check out the contest! There aren't too many entries yet, so you just might win!
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. The Gruffalo is one of our Virtual Book Club Summer Camp paid sponsors but they did not pay me to include them in this post. My kids just love the Gruffalo!