Try This Tuesday #2: Getting a Response

Try This Tuesday

Thank you so much to everyone who left comments and posted their tips on our first Try This Tuesday last week. There were so many great ideas to learn from; I especially liked the idea from Carol Russell about having her son sing songs to measure his timeout – we will definitely be trying this one at our house!

I want to encourage everyone to join in and post your own ideas to try, even if it seems simple or obvious to you. Sometimes the smallest thing can make a big difference for somebody who is in the middle of a challenging situation. For details on how it works, click here.

So what do you do when your child doesn’t answer you?

One of the more frustrating aspects of daily life with my son is having to repeat myself. A lot. Things like maintaining a conversation, answering a question, or even responding to his name can be like pulling teeth with him.

I’ve tried lots of different approaches with varying degrees of success—raising my voice, lowering my voice, singing instead of speaking, even tickling him—but one technique that consistently seems to work is speaking through a puppet or stuffed animal.

Although I don’t know all the reasons why a plush dog or rooster puppet is easier to respond to than mom, I am happy to use whatever is most effective to encourage communication.

This trick has also come in handy when he is reluctant to follow directions or transition to a new activity. Whereas with me, he will tend to argue or whine (or fall apart completely!), he can more calmly discuss his feelings with an inanimate stand-in. Usually this leads to a quicker and less painful resolution for all involved.

So, the next time you are getting frustrated by a lack of response to your communication, consider picking up the nearest stuffed animal and giving it a try!

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