Wednesday, April 18, 2007

fetching and tidying consentually

A friend at the Frog Pond was asking about how parent can have preferences considered by family members, rather than ALWAYS doing what the other family members want even if it's not what they want, and I suggested non-verbal communication of preferences being useful.

Here is the second of a set of hypothetical examples I gave to illustrate:

When playing with child, make the tidying just part of the activity. Lead non verbally. Putting jigsaws away when finished (I'm thinking of counting the pieces into the box or some more age-appropriate challenge which is genuinely fun). If child doesn't want to play, fine. But make it fun for you yourself.

When child is playing and leaving a trail behind, just LEAVE IT. If you want a tidy home, it's much easier to zoom around at the end of the day putting everything back in place than to drip feed as you go, IMO. And 10 minutes of tidying just once is much easier than constantly reorganising. THere've been good threads before about making tidying a CP (maybe on the TCS Ezboard). Also, you then give child the opportunity to clear space when they need it.

And why on earth are you running hither and yon for child when they want something? "Mum where's my...?" "On the shelf I think ,you go look for it" Taking your child seriously doesn't mean becoming their butler.

You may need to change this pattern through play. I hate that "you're a big boy Charlie, you can do it" thing, but maybe you could try flopping onto the floor and "oh no, I've lost the use of my arms and legs, can you get the book for us?" which mixes things up a bit and might turn into a jellyfish game, so it's a way of expressing your initial preference not to get the book, presenting an alternative (jellyfish game together), and giving child chance to get the book themselves while you er jellyfish. Why is it that hypothetical play examples are always goofier than goofy?

And if child still would prefer you to get the book, then get it and your own and sit down together with your books - that could be a Common Preference too

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