Monday, October 5, 2009

The "Never Fail to Help Me" Book

This is one book which I will read again and again :
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk.

I use this book for the different stages of my boys' growing up. Ever been in a situation where the more you ask the child to stop crying, the louder he will cry? Like he wants Banana Crunch Cereal for breakfast and all you have is Cheerios? "We don't have anymore Banana Crunch Cereal. Have some Cheerios instead." ... "NO! I want Banana Crunch!" ... "But we don't have any." ... CRY ... The harder we explain, the harder they protest by crying. Useful tips in the book like "Give the feeling a name", "Give a child his wishes in Fantasy" help me in dealing with such tricky situations. Letting the child knows that we feel his frustration, we understand how badly he wants something make it easier for him to accept reality.

Now that the boys are older, leaving behind their terrible twos, and moving into assertive independence, I am re-reading the book again. And I am still in Chapter 2 : Engaging Cooperation.

My boys are used to going to bed by 8am, and as a result, they will wake up before 730am the next morning. Lovely timing for school term. Bad for the weekends and school vacation! It is so difficult to get them to cooperate by keeping their voices down in the morning, just so the parents can nap for another half an hour. Or they will be arguing at the top of their voices, over who the lego bricks belong to.

One Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, and after many failed attempts in talking to them, requesting that they play quietly on their own and not raise their voices while playing, I decided to try one of the methods stated in the book : Write a note.

I put the note on our bedroom door, low enough for the boys to see it should they come knocking on our door in the morning. The boys woke up the next morning, saw the note, and I heard them whispered to each other : Shhh .... Then they proceed to brush their teeth (very quietly), and to play on their own/together (quietly without any arguement). WOW! I was very pleased indeed. We managed to nap for another 45 minutes!

The little boy, since starting school this Fall, is learning to write. Last Sunday, we woke up to find a note stuck on each of the bedroom doors.

The note on our door read : Mama and Papa is still sleeping. You need to go brush your teeth by yourself ... Picture of a "NO Entry" with a person on it. When I saw the note, I read the part which I could understand, out loud. He grinned broadly when I asked if he wrote the note all by himself.

The second note on the boys' bedroom door read : And don't disturb my brother. Brush your teeth by yourself and play your Lego as quietly as a mouse. Picture of a "NO Entry" with his brother sleeping on the bed. His brother had gone back to lie on the bed after using the bathroom in the morning. Only the little one was up that morning. So he used his time to write the notes, before brushing his teeth.

How creative kids can be! Combining his knowledge on the "NO Entry" sign with "NO Entering because .... " in picture form. It really warmed my heart, seeing the two notes on a cold Sunday morning, and amazed at how fast and how much the little one learns ...

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