The ‘Rewind’ Technique

Today, I would like to share a fun technique we use at home to promote good behavior.  I call it the “rewind” technique.

The Rewind Technique - Vidya Sury

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.

Child’s play

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 and tweets as @vidyasury.

  • Hi Vidya, your ‘rewinding ‘brought you good results Congrats!!! What is important is that this technique showed positive results. Children are very intelligent and can guess your next move. Wish you all the best. Enjoyed reading your post.

    • Thanks, Usha! Yes, you’re right about children being smart enough to second guess us, accurately. But I’ve also noticed that they like a certain routine, especially when they want to make good something they did – and rewinding offers them a chance. Of course, when it doesn’t look like working we improvise 🙂


  • Oh! Thats a nice one – I must try on Kidlet 🙂

    • Thank you, Nidhi. 🙂 I’ve noticed children enjoy these things, unless they’re in a particularly stubborn mood, in which case, there’s another technique 😀

      I enjoyed your last post!

  • Sounds like a really effective way!! Of course, my sons would beat the h** out of it! 😛

    • I know Roshni! We’ve always got to be on our toes. 😀 You know, sometimes, in a good chatty mood, I’ve asked my son for solutions. That works! 😀

  • Thats a wonderful idea – could use all the tricks in the book to get some behaviors straightened 😉 …. Lovely post!

    • Thanks, Meena! 😀 The idea basically came to me while talking about flashbacks and rewinds.

  • Fab

    That sounds like a great technique!! I got to try it out on Cub, it might help him to handle tough situations – take a step back and look at the big picture!! Wonderful post, Vidya!

    • Thank you, Fab! Let me know how it works for you! You might learn something that I can learn from you! 😀

  • Jyothi

    I will definitely try this. Actually, I think I do this sometimes already. I have noticed that during those times, the matter is resolved in a better way as opposed to when bossing them around. Nice tip on parenting. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Jyothi! I grew up in a joint family – and subconsciously, must have picked up some tips that way. I’ve noticed both with myself and everyone else that we respond to love quicker than harsh words. Rewinding gives all of us a chance to get back on track 😀

  • I am taking in all these wonderful advices and will try it with my 2 year old.
    Currently if she does something wrong, she gets a 2 minute timeout (a minute for each year) in a chair facing the wall. She absolutely hates it. So most of the time, she is reminded of a timeout and she stops a tantrum. But this works only in the house. Outside we are still wondering what to do when a tantrum breaks out.

    • Same here, Sirisha! Sometimes I think these techniques work just as well for adults 😀

      I am not a fan of “timeout”s – I’ve found that it upsets many children – and worse still – some look forward to it, under the impression that they’ll now be left alone, especially if the parents tend to nag too much.

      My point is – why waste time on timeouts when there are positive ways to discipline.

      Loved your post about the baby blues 😀 -I’ve gone through those!

      • Sirisha and Vidya : Timeout and Rewind sounds handy. I am mesmerized how we decode the art and science of parenting and invent such instruments 🙂

        • Hi Amrita! You are right about the learning. So interesting to see so many points of view! I love to read everyone’s post – there’s always something to take away!


  • BE gentle, but firm – words of a seasoned parent. Well said, Vidya.

    • Thank you, Asha. I learned early that being gentle is great to keep our own stress levels low. 😀