Thursday, October 15, 2009


Maybe it's a first time mummy thing, but figuring out how to teach by example instead of by rules is bloody hard. Case in point, I have an 18 month old. Do you know how many times I say "No!" in a day? More than I can count. The tough part is that I try not to. I'm always trying to phrase things in the positive, trying to say We DO rather than We DON'T as much as I can. Yes, there is a time when No is the only appropriate response, but it isn't the only one I want Chou to hear.

Tuesday afternoon I picked up Chou from daycare. Her hair was in a ponytail THAT SHE WASN'T PULLING OUT. I asked her caregiver how she managed this, because frankly, Chou looks like a lion most days with her blond afro growing every week. I try and tame the beast but it's a losing battle when the kid just rips out elastics, clips and ribbons. She'll wear a headband, but only if it's someone else's and she's not supposed to have it. Sigh.

Where was I?


So I pick her up, and ask S, "How do you get it to stay in?"

She says, "Well, at first she was pulling at it. Then I started telling her how pretty it looked. How nice it was. After a while, she left it in."

See? Why can't I think of this stuff.

Sure enough. We get home and I have to put the elastic back in after the tuque came off. Chou starts pulling at it. "Wow, Chou, look how pretty it is!" She agrees and leaves it in.

Now, how do I get her to stop hitting, grabbing toys and running, jumping in the tub, not letting me wash her hair, throwing food on the ground, etc. etc. a positive way?

Hmmm. Yeah.


Beth said...

When my kids were little, I could anticipate their actions in many cases. If they have jumped in the tub before, then next time I would tell them as I'm filling up the tub what kind of behavior I expected- nicely take off your clothes and get in without splashing. Then, when they do, positively reinforce it. Going to the grocery store? Talk about it as you are walking in- we don't touch stuff on the shelves. Then watch them carefully and if you see them start to look at something like they want to touch it, then say how good they are keeping their hands to themselves. Anyway, just my little parenting philosophy. Good luck!

Jennifer said...

I'm with Beth on positive reinforcement(though you've seen and heard my parenting in action - Timbits and matches?). Kind of like when they're learning to walk or talk or use the potty -- you're full of praise and kids aim to please so keep up the good work to make you happy. It is a little easier now that he's older and understands. But also harder because he can voice when he's not happy that he's being denied.

joyce said...

drink more gin. Then you won't notice the kid so much.

I've stolen a few moments, and am enjoying reading through your blog posts. Your kid is adorable. And sure- I'd like to lose ten pounds too. But I can't go there... sadly... I do, but I shouldn't.