Are you in a phase with your daughter where she is constantly interrupting you? Or maybe whining? Or your son suddenly and repeatedly is disrespectful? We have the answer! Well, we MAY have it. You won’t know until you try our “tricks of the trade” for how we magically are able to get our students to follow directions, listen to our words and reduce less desirable behaviors. And with a flourish of our wand SWISH…twinkle…twinkle…, we begin!
Dilemma #1: Your child sees you speaking to someone on the phone or to another adult and RUNS to you to ask you something./SWISH…twinkle…twinkle…Teach your child to place their hand on your shoulder or arm. And wait.
No, your child’s memory isn’t faulty. It doesn’t matter how often you’ve told her not to interrupt, she just wants your attention. In our classrooms, we have not one but multiples of one (and two and three…) children jockeying for position in our visual field. How do we solve this problem? With patience and a hand. When a Teacher is giving a lesson, for example, and a child wants to ask or tell the Teacher something, the child simply places her hand on the Teacher’s shoulder or arm….silently. Patiently. The Teacher may briefly pat the hand to let the child know that she has been acknowledged, but in no other way does she give that inquiring child her attention. When the Teacher is ready, she then compliments the child by thanking her for being so quiet and polite and gives her her full attention. Aahhh…bliss. If the child talks while waiting, then the Teacher will take longer to give the child time to center herself and try again. This may sound simple, but it WORKS. And since we already use this at Sunrise, you can implement it at home in a snap!
Dilemma #2: Lately, he won’t stop whining./SWISH…twinkle…twinkle… Tell your child in a very soft voice that you can’t hear him when he uses his whiny voice.
Imagine you are making dinner and your son keeps coming in to whine (have you noticed when it’s truly serious, so are they?). You can ignore your child, but like many experienced blackjack players in Vegas, usually they will double down. How to react? You simply say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry but your voice is whiny and my ears don’t work well when you whine. So please say that again in your big boy voice.” Another alternative we use often is “Use your words,” although this is more for a child who’s upset, but it can work, too. If he doesn’t respond without whining, just keep repeating your request in a quieter and quieter voice until you are whispering. Fair warning, I tried this on my 15 year old and it doesn’t work so well at that age (he just thought I needed a hearing aid), but it works wonders on children between 2 and 7 years old. We use this in our classrooms, for example, when our students are getting too loud. The quieter WE get, the quieter THEY get. As explained in the article below (Source #1), if they escalate into crying say, “I want to hear you, but you need to use your words. My ears need help. They need you to use a big boy/girl voice.” If you are consistent, this works. This is one of the reasons why our classrooms are quiet during work time at Sunrise. By speaking in lower tones and asking him to use his words, your son will find his way out of whininess.
Dilemma #3: Your child won’t stop treating you disrespectfully for days on end and nothing you’re trying is working./SWISH…twinkle…twinkle… Give your child your attention (lots of it).
For young children, trying out different behaviors to see what happens is par for the course. They are learning how to act, yet all of us have experienced phases when our young child is persistently rude to us. Why does this happen? All sorts of reasons. And sometimes you can try everything in your arsenal to make it stop (time outs, no special time with their tablet, no dessert, no play date, no INSERT FAVORITE THING YOUR CHILD LOVES HERE, etc.), but no enchilada. When one of our students goes through this type of phase, the Teacher will ask that child for their help with special tasks and compliment her on her hard work or sit down at lunch and ask her about her favorite book or INSERT ACTIVITY THAT INVOLVES THE TEACHER AND CHILD SPENDING TIME TOGETHER. Children sometimes act disrespectfully to test boundaries or copy their older sibling or maybe just because they are tired, but if it becomes chronic, it’s usually because they need something only an adult can give: their attention. But not just normal attention. They need your undivided attention where you are laser focused on them for 10 to 30+ seconds, where you show interest in what they are doing. The kind of attention that thinks of a task they are capable of, observes them doing it, and praises them when completed. When couples aren’t spending enough time together, they can get snippy with each other. Sound familiar? Kids are the same (just smaller and usually a lot cuter). It seems counterintuitive but giving a child thoughtful attention works for our Teachers almost all of the time. And gradually, once the child feels “seen”, the Teacher will spend less time with that child and before you know it, the child is back to normal. Eureka!
Parenting can sometimes feel like gambling…you just try a bunch of different things and hope your guesses will win big. Asking experts for tips (like your Sunrise Montessori Teachers and Administrators) when your child is going through a difficult phase can net more solutions and fewer headaches. You will be amazed at the simple things you can add to your Mommy or Daddy Manual! It can even be magical. SWISH…twinkle…twinkle…
Sunrise Montessori Preschool has two locations in Round Rock. Interested in learning first hand what we can offer your child? Then book a tour on our website at Sunrise-Montessori.com or call us so you can discover why Sunrise Montessori Preschool is where YOUR family belongs!