Anyone who has met a two-year old or a four-year old knows that there are times when things break down. Sometimes parents can isolate it to either hunger or sleepiness. However, there are plenty of instances when Ava and Kayan act up because they’re testing their boundaries and our sanity. Just because we are traveling does not mean the kids get a pass at discipline. Sandeep and I have gone back and forth with how to encourage good behavior. We haven’t wanted to go down the smacking route, although that is perfectly acceptable almost anywhere in the world except America. Reasoning with a toddler seems silly. After figuring out that many of these breakdowns were the result of over stimulation, we’ve come down to disciplining the kids through reflective time outs.
Here is Ava in her time out on a Greek beach. She was being naughty by insisting on throwing things around our restaurant table. We gave her five minutes of silence and contemplation.
This was Kayan today at a vineyard in Franschoek. He refused to stop trying to jump into a water fountain. Of course a two year old loves to play in water, but it became a safety issue so he got a few minutes to himself.
Kids, like adults, need time to reflect. Sometimes all they need is to be removed from the scene and from their parents for a few minutes. In New York City, time out was usually against a stark white wall. We’re not really sure if Ava and Kayan process the tapestries that serve as their new time out spots, but it sure makes it easier for us as parents to discipline them on the road. In Greece we ate our calamari while Ava decompressed. She returned to the table and finished her meal with no more incident. Today we enjoyed our wine and burger parings while Kayan decided it was best to stay dry. He spent the rest of the time pouring juice back and forth from the bottle to his cup. That’s the type of liquid play we’re fine with.
We’re not sure where time out will be when we return home. They certainly wont be over turquoise waters or dramatic mountains. On the other hand, if Ava and Kayan know that a stark white wall is all that awaits them, perhaps they wont get into any trouble.