I don't remember where I first heard about it, but it was probably at the parenting class we took. (Can you tell that class was pretty influential in my life?)
Practicing was all about rehearsing for a moment before the moment happened in real life. When I knew my child was going to encounter something brand new or when they needed help in handling a situation they'd seen before, but were struggling to respond appropriately, I put practicing into practice.
Let me give you a couple of examples.
Sometimes my kids would not speak to adults who spoke to them. (I'm not talking about strangers, here, but people they would see us visiting with.) If you've had preschoolers, you've probably had the same kind of scenes play out that we did. You and your child are stopped somewhere and you are talking with another adult. They, very kindly, say something to your child like, "Well, hello there ___! What a cute outfit you have on! How are you doing?"
At that moment, your child grabs your hand tighter and may even try to bury their head in it. And for sure, he/she doesn't say anything back to this person. When this happened, people were kind and understanding, and I would try to coax my little one with, "Say hello to Mr. Adult." Sometimes they would. Sometimes they wouldn't. This learning social skills gig can be tough!
So, sometime before the next similar situation, we'd practice what to do.
But before we'd practice, I talk to them about what was really happening, so they would know why we were acting like we were. I'd tell them something like this:
Mr. Adult is honoring you and being polite when he speaks to you, and we want to honor him and be polite back. In fact, if you see Mommy talking to any adult and they stop and speak to you, I know you want to honor him. So you need to look at Mr. Adult and speak to him. Ok? Let's pretend right now. I'll be Mr. Adult...
And then, you practice.
It's kind of fun actually.
Randomly at other times throughout our week, we might chat about this and practice again. A big practice time for us was in the car on the way to church. Kind of a pre-game, pep talk, you know?
Before ending this post, I have to share the other time I used this and felt it helped.
This was more when my children were older and I was having an issue with them about coming when they were called.
Shock of shocks, but sometimes they didn't.
In my house, that is disobedience. A very unwelcome guest.
So, we first straightened out why that was not acceptable, and then we worked on what coming when you are called - on the first time you are called - looked like.
Then, we laid out what our expectations were:
When we call your name, you come. We did let them know that we would try to be sensitive to whatever they were involved in and not interrupt them unnecessarily. When possible, we would give a "heads up" on what was coming so they would have time to prepare to finish whatever they were involved in. Since they knew we were doing that, then they knew if we called their name, we needed them right then. We also told them that when we called them, we wanted them to answer with, "Yes, Mom (Dad). I'm coming."
Then we practiced.
Oh the torture!
Did they roll their eyes when I made them practice this? Yes.
Did they want to do this practicing? No.
Did they do it? Yes.
Did I get weary training them? Yes.
Am I glad I did it? Yes.
Did my kids do this perfectly every time from here on out? No.
But this practicing was a helpful tool for us, both when they were little, and a little older.
And, it was one of my favorites to help me train my very favorites:)
|My Tribe: 1999|