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Talk to Practice with Children
from St. Mary's County Family Day Care
Association, Inc. Newsletter February 2000 Issue
- Connect before you direct -- Before giving your child
directions, squat to his eye level to get his attention.
Teach him how to focus: "Matthew, I need your
eyes." "Lauren, I need your eyes." Be sure
you're not so intense that the child perceives this as
controlling rather than connecting.
- Stay brief -- Use the one sentence rule. Put the main
directive in the opening sentence. The longer your
ramble, the more likely your child will become
- Be positive -- Instead of saying, "No running,"
try saying "Inside we walk, but outside you may
- Give choices -- Teach your child to make decisions. Ask,
"Do you want to put your pajamas on firs, or brush
your teeth first?"
- Make an offer your child can't refuse -- You can reason
with a 2 or 3 year old, especially to avoid power
struggles: "Lauren get dressed so you can go outside
and play." " when ... then" statements.
"When your work is finished, then you can
- Give likable alternatives -- Offer appealing
alternatives. Say, "You can't go by yourself to the
park, but you can play in the neighbor's yard."
- Use humor as discipline -- Use humor to give a child a
second chance to obey. Our children love videos, so we
sometimes put on our "rewind" theatrics;
"Matthew protests. Immediately I say
"Rewind!" I step back a few feet and start
over, this time making a grand gesture toward Matthew,
indicating the cue for his second chance. This approach
usually results in both laughter and obedience.
- Use repetition -- Another variation of the rewind game is
when we call "instant replay". Since our
children are into videos, they understand the concepts of
"rewind" and "replay". Here's an
example: a dangerous street. I clicked into our
danger-preventing play. We play and rewind. Three times
we reenact the scene. We run to the street and look both
ways saying "look this way, no cars. Look that way,
no cars" then we walk across the street to our
friend's house. By graphic repetition, you hope to
imprint the habit of automatically looking both ways
looking both ways for cars as soon as the approach a
curb, and then crossing the street.
Submitted by Suzanne Rog
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