Sep 3, 2010

From Linda's Lips: Hands Up!

A few years ago I was involved with a really fantastic playgroup. On one occasion we invited a child behaviorist to come observe us and our children as we played together. We all wondered if our children were "normal." Some wondered if their children needed speech intervention, some wondered if they were advanced/behind.

At the time, my twins were about 2 years old and I didn't really care too much about the spectrum, I felt like after watching my older son that they were pretty normal, but was curious nonetheless. After about an hour our behavior specialist talked to us individually and we learned some really great things about each of our babes and their different styles of learning. She then pulled us together as a group and gave us some great tips about things we could do to improve our parenting.

There was one thing that has stuck in my brain like glue. It changed my life as a parent. I now refer to it as the Hands Up! technique.

She quickly pointed out that all of us there that day (and most parents in general) constantly follow our toddlers around saying things like, "don't touch," "don't hit," "stop biting!" She explained to us that young children only hear the "touch," "hit," and "bite" in phrases like this and they get confused when we as parents get upset. Not to mention every phrase is negative in tone. She gave us an alternative! Yay! She told us that for the next 30 minutes we should change our phrase to match what we wanted the child to do. For example, if they were touching something they shouldn't, or hitting, we should say, "hands off!" or "hands up!" If they were biting, "mouths off" or "teeth off." It seemed sooooo silly to us, and for 30 minutes it was hard to change our ways. BUT it was like a miracle had occurred in that room. Our children listened to us! They understood what we were saying and everything was said in more happy tones.

These phrases now come very naturally to me because they are so much more effective! It definitely came in handy when we were recently seated at a restaurant right next to a fire place. My little miss quickly smiled and raised her hands high when my husband and I both said, "hands up!"


Sue said...

Interesting. I'll have to try this on my grandkids.


Stacie said...

I love this! I have been told the same thing--be more positive, say yes more and no less...but how to do that when your kids really shouldn't do what they are doing? What a simple idea! Can't wait to try it. Thanks!

karen said...

I'm going to try this with grandkids. So simple, but if it works...WOW!

Marianne said...

This is awesome advice. Thanks for sharing it. It makes sense. I'm giving it a try.

Kierstin said...

I love this!

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