Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Daily Affirmations

Does anyone besides me remember the Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live? You know-- "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me."  Well, this post is not about daily affirmations in the sense of SNL, but it is about repeating statements so people believe them-- primarily The Boy.

I have been spending time evaluating and re-evaluating what does and does not work for us-- what is and is not in our discipline toolbox. One tool that I have found working in wonderful ways for us is the use of repeated statements. It usually goes like this... I'll use our ongoing "discussion" on the use of chairs.

Me: Chairs are for sitting.
TB: Chairs are for sitting. I sit my bum down. (I can't remember his exact response, but he did say that yesterday.)

Me: What are chairs for?
TB: Chairs are for sitting!

Me: Chairs are for sitting.
TB: Chairs are for sitting.

You might be wondering if I only employ this discussion when The Boy is not sitting on his chair. The answer is no. We have these micro-conversations morning, noon and night. It started when he was an infant. I would describe what we were doing at the time... almost all of the time. The one way dialogue continued for a while, but eventually, he started chiming in.  In my evaluation, I noticed that in the cases where we use this dialogue, he is most well-behaved.

I have learned, however, that he takes it literally. I read in a book (Dr. Sears?? I can't remember where) that children take things literally until age seven or so. In other words, if you tell your child (or they see it in a movie) that the dog died, the child believes the dog died. The child does not fully grasp that the Beast on Beauty and the Beast is not real.  Translated in to this method of teaching and learning-- The chair and the couch are two different things and require two statements!

There it is...another way I set The Boy up for success. Daily Affirmations. :)


Trannyhead said...

I love this idea - helping them understand WHY you're telling them to do something instead of arbitrarily barking orders. I think that's a total success - I bet kids are a lot more willing to follow orders if they understand what they're for.

Hippie Housewife said...

That is SUCH a good tool! What a great way to set a child up for success instead of failure.

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