Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Awesome Father: TIP 2 - GET MY ATTENTION - THE RIGHT WAY! or how to respond to constant questioning


"Daddy?... Daddy?... Daddy?... Daddy?... Daddy?... Daddy?... Daddy?... Daddy?... DADDY!"

What an infernal racket!  And multiply that by 2 or three children and it really becomes un-manageable. A study in 2014 showed that children can ask up to 390 questions per day - 4 year old girls are officially the worst offenders!

But is there another way?

In the world of DaddyDaddyCool ... you betcha there is!

Usually the above scenario happens either when a conversation with another child or an adult is under way. So you might not even notice the first few "Daddy?"'s. But as you ignore, the volume rises until it demands your attention. Here's what you do...

Step 1: Turn to your darling child, look them in the eye and say "Bobby, I'm talking - I'll answer your question when I'm finished."

Step 2: IMPORTANT! At the very next pause in conversation (make one happen if it doesn't happen within 2 minutes), go back to your child and say "Bobby, what did you want to ask me?". Give them your full attention, answer the question, help them out, or do whatever is needed.

NOTE:This gives them huge positive reinforcement, not just because you helped them, but that you deemed them important enough to remember their enquiry, stop your conversation and go back to them.

Step 3: Return to your other conversation.

Very straight-forward and simple to achieve isn't it?  Well yes, but sometimes you forget the enquiry and don't go back to your child. It's important that you NEVER FORGET! If you do forget, then the effect is reversed and your kid will not only think that you don't care, but now you just lied to them, by telling them that you would go back to them and not following through.

But how do you remember not to forget!?  Easily...

GOLDEN TIP: Move something to a strange position on the table, which will remind you to act! This could be: cross over your knife and fork, take your watch off and hold it or put it on the table, stand a book/pen/phone on its end. Just make it something you'll notice as unusual. The simple fact that you thought to do this will keep your brain aware, and will guarantee that you don't forget !

GOLDEN TIP 2 (HERE's WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS!!): Even well trained kids can struggle to get your attention when you are deeply engaged in a grown-up conversation. To avoid them needing to raise the volume to get your attention, teach them an invaluable lifeskill...

    If you want someone's attention... touch them on the arm!

My kids now know that to get someone's attention is very, very easy. It's not very 'British', but a little personal contact goes a long way!  Simple teach them that if someone doesn't respond to your first politely volumed request, just put your hand on their arm and look them in the eye.

They quickly learn the power of this 'gesture'. It will usually stop an adult in their tracks and get their attention immediately. BUT BEWARE!: Don't answer their question right away - once you've acknowledged their polite request for attention, you MUST go through Steps 1 to 3!

So there it is - simple, volume-reducing steps and tips for your household... who doesn't need some of that!

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