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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Preschool Pointers - 28: You Don't Have to Distract All the Time


Your kids aren't being reasonable (again!). You've asked them to do something and they won't do it, and not only that, now they're whining about it (or worse, throwing a tantrum). Or they're throwing a tantrum over over whether or not they get to shut the door, or how red the leaf they picked up is or is not. Whatever. Whatever it is that they're being feisty all over is ridiculous.


While many parents distract, distract, distract, I tend to think that by four years old, some of that technique is held over from when the kids were smaller, less verbal, less able to think critically. And sometimes, even at four, you do need to distract, lest the whole public area you're in tumble down in the disaster about to be thrown at you. But sometimes, I think, anyway, your kids need to man up. (Or at least my kids.) I want fully fledged humans, here, and I want them to reason through their problems, prioritize and compromise. I don't want them to be good-natured because someone showed them something shiny to get their mind off their troubles. So, sometimes, I'll throw down. You broke a bit of your ice cream cone? Well, you're just going to eat it anyway, so hop to, and next time be more gentle. No, I'm not going to get you interested in how the ice cream looks at it melts or sing you a song or make you a new one. Just do the things you need to do.

It's not that this should be the only way, but I'm thinking the time has come now to integrate it into the distraction motif, and start encouraging overcoming problems rather than avoiding them.


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