Moving through the day with a toddler can be an exercise in patience and communication. We never want to motivate with anger or fear, but frustration is a close cousin that seems to waiting in the wings more often that not. Throw in that every child has their own learning style and response patterns and it can feel like you’re in a batting cage and the pitching machine is on full speed!
As adults, we can often respond to our children with unrealistic expectations coming from a “why would you do that?” point of view. We sometimes forget that we once had learn how to get along, too. The following excerpt is from a blog post from Dr. Lynne Kenney, Psy.D from her blog “The Family Coach Blog.” The example she uses as about sharing and while a little technical, it’s good food for thought to keep in mind the next time we have a “what were you thinking?” moment.
Behavior #1: Sharing Toys
Step #1: What is the expected behavior?
Answer: I expect my five-year-old son to share his toys with his sister.
Step #2” Can he do it?
• Did I discretely define one behavior I am seeking my child to exhibit?
• Does my child have the requisite skills to exhibit this behavior?
• Are there any roadblocks that inhibit my child’s ability to exhibit the behavior? e.g Did my child sleep well and eat well?
• Have I defined which toys are for sharing and which are personal and will not be played with by others?
• If my child will share another toy but not the requested toy, did I offer an alternative solution for the children?
Step #3: Is yes, expect it, help the child to share the toy by clarifying expectations and establishing a time-frame for sharing.
Step #4: If no, teach it. Help the child to choose an alternate toy, model sharing, practice sharing.
Your children want to succeed. When you know how to determine if they have the skill-set to do as expected you are on your way to a more peaceful family.
- Sign language is a great tool for our youngest children as they join the ranks of civil and polite behavior. Here’s a shameless plug for the February 2-3 Kindermusik Sign Language class. This is an unbelievably valuable and rewarding skill. All three of my children learned a few signs as babies and although they are 13, 10 and 7 now, it still comes in handy across a crowded room with a flick of the wrists communicating, “All done? Can we go now? Wrap it up!”
- Music is wonderful way to take the edge off of next steps with which our little ones can so often struggle. In Kindermusik class we sing the “Toys Away” song. It’s not on any CD but is every parent’s go-to song at home to get their child to put something away. It’s MAGICAL! Parents have told me it helps for putting on shoes, cutting fingernails, whatever–change the words as you please.
- There’s more to nap time than meets the eye. A recent study brought out that today’s naps could be shaping tomorrow’s brain as well as today’s. In each Kindermusik class we have down-time, quiet time that is not for napping or nursing but just to breathe and slow down. It’s to give a child’s brain and body a chance to regroup. It’s necessary developmentally and children actually crave it. In class, it’s a POSITIVE routine and very easy to incorporate at home because a child will recall the class “rest” as positive and will associate the music to accompany down-time at home as a positive break (not punitive). Parents needs the rest time to bring a little peace into our day and also help our children process all that’s coming at them in this busy world.
This post brought to you by Jenny Leggett who assures you that the work you do when they are little is worth every ounce of effort. 🙂