As children get closer to school age, they need to be able to remember what they have been asked to do and to get things in order. For instance: ‘Finish your drink, put the cup on the sink, then do your hair.’ By using this game as practice, from a very young age, they can build up their confidence and ability to remember a series of instructions, and carry them out independently. Overtime, make it harder. The following are approximate ages and what can be taught: 1!4 to 2Vi ‘Go into my bedroom and get my red slippers, please.’ 2!4 to 3& ‘Go to Daddy in the kitchen and ask what time it is, then come and tell me.’ 3& to 4& ‘Go and see where the big and little hands of the clock are pointing, then come and tell me and I’ll tell you what time it is.’ You’ll notice that children love to help and can get things for you, and will be proud of remembering. If you are pinned down feeding a baby, your toddler can bring you a biscuit or get a nappy from the shelf, and you will appreciate the help.
There are two reasons for whingeing that we encounter all the time. Firstly, it’s the only ‘wavelength’ that gets through. If the child asks normally, people don’t listen. This is common in big or very busy families.
Secondly, the parents use whingeing voices and the child is speaking the family language.
The group was amazed how well Jane had coped with all those children; whingeing was a relatively small problem in the circumstances. Jane and each of her children were probably much in need of individual time together. To get started on solving the problem of helping her daughter to speak pleasantly, Jane was happy to consider these steps:
HOW TO HELP A CHILD TO SPEAK PLEASANTLY 1. Show the child what a normal voice is and how their usual voice sounds. 2. Tell them you will only listen and help them if they use a normal voice. You can explain: ‘You asked for that really well. But you can’t have a biscuit because tea is almost ready.’
Demonstrate and explain. Practise together a whingeing voice and a normal voice, saying the same words. Make a game of it if you like. (It’s really pretty funny.) 4. Take note the next time she uses a pleasant, normal voice and tell her you’ve noticed. 5. Resolve not to answer questions, nor give her what she wants, unless she asks in a normal voice. Occasional reminders will keep her on track.
The interesting thing is that a child’s whole personality can change once they change voices. How you sound affects how you feel.