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Friday, June 24, 2011

Teaching through Toys

"Where are we going today?" asks my husband in a deep voice while holding the Superman doll.

"Swimming! The beach!" the babies shout.

"Okay then. Let's get in the car. Come on, Supergirl! Get in the car!" My husband switches to a falsetto. "No, I want mommy to strap me in. No no no. Crying. Waaaaah. I'm going to cry!"

The babies look up, confused.

"No, Supergirl. Mommy doesn't have to always strap you in. Sometimes Daddy straps you in. If you are going to cry, we'll just stay home. Okay, fine. We're staying home."

"No!" the babies shout. "Go beach! Go beach, Supergirl!"

"Well," my husband says, "tell Supergirl that daddy can strap her in sometimes and that there's no crying."

"Supergirl, Daddy strap you. No crying. Go beach!"

And off Superman and Supergirl go to the beach to have wonderous adventures.

The next day when my husband and I took the babies somewhere, there was no crying when Daddy strapped them in. That had been a major problem up until this point. Only Mommy could strap them in. No matter what we said or did -- whether we pleaded or cajoled or threatened staying home or actually did stay home -- only Mommy could strap them in.

Taking the lesson outside of the situation allowed them to think logically about it, without being emotionally invested at the time, so that when they again found themselves in the car needing to be strapped in, they remembered calmly what had happened to Supergirl.

This has also worked for leaving the park and sitting down to eat in a restaurant. The twins see how ridiculous the obstacle is that is in the way of them having a good time in the third person. It's helping them to learn to prioritize. Slowly, they're learning to assign different levels of importance to different aspects of each trip or experience.

If you can't get a point across to your toddlers, try letting one of their toys do it for you. It's working for us, anyway.

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  1. Have you ever just strapped them in, screaming and all, and let them scream it out? My daughter used to do this, before she realized that mommy wasnt going to play into her shennanigans no matter how much she put up a fight.

  2. I think the learning through toys approach is probably easier on the ears. I'm a fan of the 'no means no' approach to parenting myself but my eardrums appreciate this little tip, thank you!



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