Ok, so I’ve been a little busy for the past… 2 months?! Eek! Is that really how long it’s been since I’ve posted?
I noticed that my frequency of blogging decreased significantly when Levi became mobile. It flat-lined shortly thereafter, but for a really, really good reason: Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun!
We just finished a round of ECPMF at the Valpo YMCA this spring. It was excellent! The material is funny, oh-so-practical, and very methodically presented by Jim Fay and Dr. Charles Fay of the Love & Logic Institute. We saw some great outcomes in the homes of the class participants. I was and am truly honored to have been part of such a great group.
One of the most useful tools, it seems, is the “uh-oh song.” How does it work? Let me play out a scenario from my house. When the baby (toddler) turns the TV off, I sing “uh-oh!”, pick him up, and gently deliver him to my pre-planned place of “uh-oh” confinement. The playpen or exersaucer works perfectly. I let him stay there ’til he calms down, and then a minute or two after. Then I take him out, hug and kiss him, and we go on with our day. If I repeat this consistently and without anger or frustration (that’s why we sing “uh-oh,” it helps to keep us calm), then eventually, my baby will learn to not turn off the TV. In fact, he will learn that the word “uh-oh” means he better stop whatever he’s doing. He will learn to turn on a dime at the very sound of my little song, and I will be amazed at the level of self-control that my very young child can learn when given the chance and held to the expectation. [Don't believe me? I dare you to try it. I mean really try it. Make a plan, visualize it, rehearse it in your head, and then put it into action, and repeat it as needed. It works.]
Scenario B: My 3-yr-old just made a poor decision and did something that I did not like. (Take your pick. Go ahead, be creative… it’s probably happened. ;)) I sing, “Uh-oh!” and follow it with, “How sad. Looks like a little room time.” I whisk him away to his room and leave him in there ’til he calms down, and then for a few minutes after that. If he comes out after me before he’s calm, I close the door. If I need to, I lock it or hold it closed (and I make sure that the room is SAFE before I do this). When he comes out, I give him a hug and kiss, tell him that I love my sweet boy, and we go on with our day. After some practice, this little boy will also learn to come running, declaring his intent to cooperate and be sweet when he picks up a hint of “uh-oh” on the tip of my tongue. (Not every time. He’ll still test that limit every so often to make sure it’s still there. But most of the time…. glorious cooperation.)
There you go! Sounds simple, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. It’s a simple concept. The key is that you use it consistently and without anger or frustration. That, friends, takes practice. Thankfully, these little people provide lots of opportunities for me to practice, and we have seen the fruit in our home. I have heard many stories of similar fruit in other homes. That is awesome! Way to go!
Want to know more? Check out our follow-up round of Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun! this summer at Bethel Valparaiso. I dare you! ;) Email me (email@example.com) for the details. In the meantime, happy singing! :)