I’m sure some of you are not going to agree with this post and think it quite barbaric. Â That being said, there are definite moments in our life when we need Poppet to sit still and stay fairly quiet. Â In my husband’s work as a minister, there have been many time when we are at someone’s home and he is discussing serious issues. Â To have Poppet running around, trying to keep her out of everything would be distracting to say the least. Â The easiest way we have found to deal with this is to have her mat trained. Â It saves us all a lot of tears in the end and allows for everyone to enjoy themselves.
What is mat training?
In its simplest form, mat training is just having your child sit for certain amounts of time on a mat. Â When they see the mat they go to it and stay on it until the mat is put away.
Why would you want to mat train?
Well, as I mentioned, sometimes you need them to be still and quiet. Â Other times you need to keep them safe. Â If I go to someone’s house and they are not child-proofed, I can spend the entire time chasing Poppet, trying to keep her away from stairs, electrical outlets, pets or breakables, or I can simply pull out her mat, ask her to sit on it and let her (an us) enjoy a relatively stress free time!
I’ll give you a recent example. Â I had to drive an hour and a bit to where we bought our van to have a repair done at the dealership. Â When we got there, I had to wait 2 hours. Â I pulled out Poppet’s mat, put it in a corner out-of-the-way and she played for almost 1 1/2 of those 2 hours before she had reached her limit. Â Then we had lunch and headed home. Â During this time I had a gentleman come up and ask me how I got her to do that. Â He was amazed because he had a 2-year-old at home and both he and his wife were frustrated at how quickly he was into everything – and they were at a loss as to how to deal with the constant frustration. Â I relayed this story on to my sister who suggested I put into a post how I went about mat training Poppet. Â So here goes!
Steps for mat training:
1) Â Place a mat on the floor.
2) Â Place your child on the mat.Â (I started around 8 or 9 months old before Poppet was crawling)
3) Â If your child tries to leave the mat, return them to it. Â Tell them to stay. Â Keep doing this until they remain on the mat. Â The first day there were many tears and it took 1/2 an hour to get Poppet to stay on the mat. Â As soon as she did I praised her and only had her stay there a couple of minutes. Â I increased this amount of time gradually, to where she can now stay on it for up to 2 hours when needed.
4) Â Have a bag of snacks, toys, books, crayons, paper, etc. that ONLY comes out when the mat is out. Â It makes the mat a special place to be. Â NEVER use these items at any other time or they will lose their novelty.
5) Â Around 1 years old you can start to introduce the concept of quiet to your child. Â Before then they really do not grasp it. Â It is really cute as Poppet will go down hallways saying “shh, shh, shh”. Â Anytime she gets overly loud on the mat all I have to do is say, “Poppet, say shhh” – and a little finger will raise to her mouth, her little lips pucker, and out comes a tiny “shh”. Â It’s priceless. Â At 18 months she has only just really mastered the art of staying quiet as well as staying on the mat.
6) Â Be diligent! Â I try to do 20 minutes of mat training every day (or every other day at least).
That’s all there is too it! Â Okay, it takes a bit of work, but trust me, it is worth every minute!
What do you do when you need your children to be quiet or still? Â Do you bribe them, do you have a special place for them to go (besides time out :-) , do you praise them? Â Would love to hear your ideas and suggestions!