When I was in college and taking one of my many Early Childhood classes, I remember this one comment one of my professors said.
First and Last
She said that children take a lot longer to process words than adults do (they may need up to 30 seconds to process and respond). Also, most people (even children) pay the most attention to the first and the last thing that is said. So one (usually) effective way to get kids to pay attention is to use a structured sentence.
The sentence needs to start with the verb/action that you want to stop. Then the last word in the sentence needs to be “stop.” So: “____ (action) needs to stop!”
Hitting needs to stop.
Yelling needs to stop.
Running needs to stop.
Jumping off the furniture needs to stop.
Running in the hallway needs to stop.
- Use it at times that are very important or when you are at your wits end!
- Say the sentence with a stern face and a firm voice.
- Say the phrase somewhat slowly.
- Put up sticky notes to remind yourself to say the phrase
Week 1: Right now, practice saying this phrase to yourself! Say it at least 15 times. Try to make saying this phrase a habit.
Week 2: Make and put up sticky notes to remind yourself to say this.
Week 3 & 4: Practice saying the phrase to yourself. Say it to your child(ren) in appropriate situations.