While writing about Language awareness, I was reminded of what one of the puppy training instructor mentioned. She said that all trainers should focus on the puppy doing what you WANT, rather than what you do not want – which is another word for REDIRECTING.
This is so simple, and yet it is so powerful. I have personally tried it with the Puppy (Goldie) we used to train and with a few toddlers…and it worked really well.
How many times have you battled with your toddlers/preschoolers/school age children about something they are doing which you’d prefer they do not do?
For example, if your toddler is holding something dangerous in his or her hand and you are frantically trying to grab the thing back, what happens? What is her reaction? Confused? Unimpressed? Angry? Throwing a tantrum? Or you will be saying “don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t….”?
Am I right?
What I’ve learned from doggie training is “redirecting” their attention. For example, young puppies do not understand the word “no” “don’t” “drop” etc. So what if they are trying to chew on your shoe, which is an absolutely No! No!
What would you do?
The easiest way to go about this is to introduce them to something right in front of their eyes/nose, and take away their attention from the shoe. For Young puppies, FOOD is the best reward for them. This method proves 100% successful.
However for toddlers, who have little understanding about items that he or she is allowed,they will grab whatever that fascinates them. You can say 100 times “no”, and they will still be puzzled why you keep repeating this word…but will not give up the things they are holding.
Rather that ‘battle’, do redirect.
Try this approach…
Give your toddler something (anything other than the thing he or she is holding), redirect their attention and once your toddler focuses on the new item, take the “disallowed” object away and completely out of sight. I can be very sure your toddler would not notice the difference.
Sure, as they grow older, they will better understand Nos and Yes…but as I mentioned before, beware of your language. Using NO is attracting a lot of what you do not want…so focus on things that you want instead!!!
How about using this method with school age children? It works almost every time.
For example, it you child has a music lesson he has to go it and he is very reluctant to go…he will be in tears, feeling so depressed… rather than trying to force it (which is focusing on what you do not want), try re-directing instead.
One good example is asking him “how about we try a different route to the class today? You tell me which route you’d prefer? We can head out 5 minutes earlier and try this new route you suggest?” or “Hey, how about we stop by _____ and grab something for afternoon tea before your lesson? We have not done that for a while…what do you say? Tell me what you’d like”…
See the difference between forcing and redirecting? The whole tone and energy are completely different …. Give it a go and you will see much improvement in getting what you want your child to do rather than what you DO NOT want your child to do!
Redirecting – Least Resistance!!
Give it a Go!!