Today, I would like to share a fun technique we use at home to promote good behavior. I call it the “rewind” technique.
Some background here
We are all used to loading our children with the following:
“You must be a good boy / girl and (insert desired action)”
“Good boys /girls don’t do this. Are you good or bad?”
To that second question, almost every child will want to answer “good”. But how easy is it to convert advice into action? We can sit with our children and preach about “being good” until the cows come home – but practice is a whole new ballgame.
Like every young child, when he was a toddler, my son had a mind of his own. He knew how to say “no” in a paragraph. If we pushed him to do something he didn’t want, we had to be amazing salesmen, or we were busted before we even got started. Children are the best sales people in the world, you know? Relentless until they get what they want, when they want.
So, there were moments when we simply put our foot down and said “no” and that would bring on a spate of reactions followed by sulking. I believe they’re called tantrums. Then, a short silence would follow. If we tried talking to him he wouldn’t respond. And so, we hit upon this brilliant technique called “rewind”
One of us (my husband or my Mom or I) would say “I am going to rewind this” The concept of rewind was familiar to my son as we had audio tapes back then. The moment we said “rewind” he’d look at us, expectantly. We would go back to the beginning of the situation and lovingly, give reasons why we said “no”. Just one or two reasons would do – no long drawn out explanations (because we don’t have to). Then we’d prompt him, encouraging his response. Very sweetly, he would start with a please….. ending with a thank you, but not budging from what he wanted. (They know how to make it tough eh?) We would then respond to that in a kind manner, followed up with a hug, a cuddle and confirming whether he understood. He usually did. Situation resolved.
I am not saying we were 100% successful with this, but even most of the time is a good score. We used “rewind” to enact the ideal situation. And not just for us. For him, also. If we sounded irritated to something he said, he was quick to say “let’s rewind” and we would instantly look sheepish and play the game. It especially works to tackle the talkback. Ignored, this develops into rudeness.
Oh, it was a major learning experience for us, believe me!
Now, some people will say this controls our spontaneity – but I am sure you will agree that it is not always a good idea to be spontaneous when it comes to cultivating good behavior in children. We have to think before we speak, so that we may do as we expect them to do. They appreciate it. A lot. After all, they have feelings, too.
And? Don’t forget to reward good behavior with praise and a hug or two. Be gentle, but firm.
Do you have a technique? Please share – I would love to hear it.
Vidya Sury is a happy work-at-home Mom who relishes the joy of parenting and growing up with her son. She is a freelance writer, business blogger and social media enthusiast and loves DIY, Coffee, Music, Photography, Family, Friends and Life. She believes that Happiness is a DIY Project. She blogs at www.vidyasury.com and tweets as @vidyasury.