Kamis, 16 September 2010

Tips on motivating young children to be active listeners

Here are some really useful ideas from a friend of mine of how to motivate young children to be active listeners, thanks Kakie for the great tips.

Kakie is co-creator and author for the popular Bur Bur and Friends children's book series. Bur Bur and Friends uses a cast of multicultural characters who educate kids about sports, outdoor exploration and active play through first time experiences.

As a mom it is really hard sometimes to pick your battles. (“How many times do I have to ask you to put your shoes on before you actually do it?”). Here are some strategies that seem have been successful for me. Hopefully they will work for you too.
1. I went to a local craft store,bought some brightly colored tag board and created a chart. Every time my son listens or helps, we put a sticker on the board. When the board gets full he gets a treat or toy. What is important here is that kids tie the good behavior to a reward that makes them feel good with positive reinforcement.
2. I also picked up a notebook and said to my son, “I think you are really creative. What would you think if we created a list of family rules in our house? Wouldn’t that be a great idea?” He responds with a yes and then I say, ” I need your help. What do you think they should be?” This gets buy in (with a little coaching).
Once we finished I said, “Wow – you are really good at this! So now, we both agree that these are our family rules? Remember, you created them, so do we agree moving ahead we will stick to them? Can we shake hands on that, Great! Lets sign it together! “(you may need to repeat this 4-5 times).
I took everything he said and turned it into a positive statement, had him sign the paper and explained what the signing meant (a promise or a contract). So for example, if he said, “Don’t complain”, I changed it to “We always help family without being asked.”
When he began acting up by not listening, I would point to the refrigerator where the rules were posted and calmly say, “Hmmmm, do you think that one is part of the family rules? Remember what it meant when we signed it? Don’t forget, you made those family rules all by yourself.”
It is also important to brag about the rules list in front of family and friends in front of him ‘Johnny made up a list of rules for our house, isn’t that terrific?’ Then say ‘What do you think we need to do to make sure we are following the rules?” Can we pretend this never happened and try to do it again using the rules? What would that look like?…
It’s brilliant – they come up with the answers and you look like a shining star. I believe our kids want to please us. This is especially true when we are giving them positive reinforcement.
Don’t forget to keep those rules up on the refrigerator!!
Here is the rules list for our family:
a. We say nice words and are kind
b. We listen and pay attention
c. We cooperate and work together like a friend
d. We always do what is right
e. We respect what we have
f. We express our feelings
g. We encourage each other
h. We laugh, make funny jokes and always give hugs and kisses
i. We talk in a respectful tone
j. We use our words, ask for what we need
k. Always tell the truth and be honest
l. Be thankful
m. We help family without being asked
n. We use constructive criticism
o. We separate the person from the behavior (he is too young to get this now, but as he grows he will come to understand what that means).

By Kakie Fitzsimmons, Vice President and founding partner, Farmer’s Hat Productions co-author Bur Bur and Friends book series, catch up with Kakie at http://burburandfriends.com/

Take care Ruth

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