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EFFECTIVE LIMIT SETTING
Words…. good old words. This week at Incredible Years was infuriating as it has made me completely paranoid when it comes to the way I talk to Little Man! At the beginning of the session we were asked to think about the commands we use with our children during the day and also the amount of times we used the word ‘no’. Quite a lot so it seems!!
I always make a conscious effort to say no as little as possible and I still use it to much, agh! For the most part I allow Little Man as much time respond as possible but admit that this does fall by the way side when I’m in a rush. As you can imagine, this is always completely counter productive as things end up taking even longer!
One thing I was really upset to learn was that I can be sarcastic with Little Man (something that is honestly not done intentionally). I also tend to use an encyclopedia of explanations when giving him commands, something I’m well aware that I do! As a child I used to get really annoyed when I had orders fired at me and I always felt better when I knew why something was being asked of me. As a result I felt Little Man was owed an explanation for everything I asked him to do. Now, when looking at it from the outside, the lengthy explanations are a little over the top and confusing for one so young.
For our homework we were asked to limit the amount we use the word no in favour of more positive commands. Also, when giving commands, to be more informative and concise and to allow the child at least 10 seconds to respond.
This has taken A LOT of getting used to but, despite my reservations and worries, it actually does work! An example of this: BEFORE: ‘We’re going to creche today so you’ll need to get your shoes on, (2 seconds later), you need to get your shoes on , (2 seconds later), we’re gonna be late!!’. NOW: ‘Shoes on please (waits 10 seconds)’. OK so Little Man doesn’t always do what I say but with these new commands in place he now reacts 70% of the time as opposed to 30%. As you can imagine, this has reduced a lot of stress on my behalf and he also feels happier and less harassed!
Another example (Little Man not getting his coat on): BEFORE: ‘If you don’t get your coat on then it’s tough, you can’t go outside’ (sniff, an example of my sarcasm). AFTER: ‘When you get your coat on, then you can go outside’. The ‘after’ example looks back to time telling with children. By letting them know the after effect of their decision, it gives them a chance to react. I wasn’t very keen on using this, as I didn’t feel it would work, but with no other ideas I decided to give it a go! I was pleasantly surprised, Little Man looked at me (I could see those little cogs turning), and would then put his coat on. The whole point is that one is turning a negative into a positive, which is much more likely to elicit a response.
These methods are gonna take some work for me. This whole series has left me feeling like a computer being reprogrammed, which I guess is the whole idea! The way I talk is such a part of me I feel like I’m going against nature a bit. However, seeing the positive change in the household is enough to keep me persevering.