Monday, October 24, 2005

More on self-control

In a parenting class my husband and I attended we were introduced to “self-control hands”. This is a great technique for little one's, actually it works for older kids as well. They simply place their hands in their lap and hold them together. For many children this helps them to focus and it direct much of their energy and wiggliness to their hands. To introduce this, you might play a game of 'who can hold their hands together and not talk, the longest.' This is a fun game because it doesn't take long for someone to erupt into giggles. As your children become more adept at this, offer a prize for everyone who can have self-control hands and quiet mouths for 30 seconds, then 60 seconds and so on. My children (even my very busy, very wiggly, outspoken little girl) have mastered the three minute mark. In situations where I can see they are about to lose control, I have them practice self-control hands and it has saved us much trouble. Make sure and practice in calm times so that you can use it in turbulent ones.

Remember to praise, prase, praise! Children thrive on praise so point out specific moments when they have used self-control. For instance, “I saw that you were about to get mad when your friend cut in line but I was really proud of the way you used self-control.” Also be sure to praise them when they are about to touch something or do something they shouldn't and use self-control instead.
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