Archive for June, 2013
Let’s explore the importance of using our ‘voice’ to engage kids in motivating ways…
Ever try to listen to someone with a loud, high, nasal-sounding voice? How about someone who talks with no inflection in their voice or who talks too fast for you to grasp what they’re saying? We all have…and what do we do? We tune these voices out as fast as we can.
The same is true with kids, only they can tune out faster because they are not ‘programmed’ to be consideration, politeness, and accommodation….all the more reason why we should consider our voices as tools for engaging kids’ attention. Babies hear loud voices and they react with crying. Toddlers hear a loud, demanding tone in an adult’s voice and they ‘don’t listen’ or they throw a tantrum in order to cope with the stress. Kids in school hear a shrieking high voice on the school intercom and they start talking amongst themselves to drown out the disturbance. VOICE MATTERS . . .
If you find yourself talking louder and louder to get kids’ attention, they will come to expect that. Try shifting to softer, slower tones that will force kids to tune in. Try using enthusiasm in your voice to capture attention…and then work to keep that attention by asking questions, pausing between important points, and shifting your voice from high to low, loud to soft. Watch what happens!
Great parents and great teachers know, and use, the power of ‘the voice’ . . .
Let’s explore the child/student who constantly needs attention…
Why do some kids demand more attention than others? Is it a nature versus nurture debate, a birth order factor, a learned behavior, all three, or something else?
As a teacher and parent, I am always reflecting on what might cause certain behaviors in kids that will get in their way. When kids are babies, we remove things that can harm them such as poisons, glass, small sharp objects, etc. So why shouldn’t we try to help kids remove behaviors before they become habitual and almost impossible to break? After all, who wants to go through life needing a ton of attention? This need always disappointment and dissatisfaction with most people and experiences…life is too short for that!
It’s been my experience as a Mom of 3 and teacher of thousands that kids who demand constant attention need 3 things:
1. Frequent, useful feedback that helps them know what they are doing WELL and RIGHT.
2. Clear oral and/or written instructions that give them a roadmap for completing tasks INDEPENDENTLY.
3. Firm but loving explanations about why they can’t have unlimited attention while redirecting them to activities that will engage them.
If kids are demanding unreasonable time and attention, come back to these 3 important needs and you will gradually empower them to be considerate of others, to wait patiently, and to problem solve on their own. That’s a great gift!
Recently, I had lunch in a local restaurant. I noticed a young
boy who was seated across from his mother. He was coloring a
picture while asking questions and telling her all kinds of neat
things. She did not respond or even look up at him once; she
was totally engaged with her cell phone. For me, the saddest part
came when the boy began moving his crayon very quickly across
the paper. He looked up at his Mom and shouted, “Look, Mom,
I’m growing muscles!” I felt badly for both of them because the
teachable minute came…and went.
It is my sincerest hope that as you catch the teachable minute
with your kids, you will discover the following:
• More spontaneous fun
• Increased self-confidence in the role of ‘parent as teacher’
• Numerous opportunities to interact with kids in
• Unpredictable benefits that will lead to lifelong learning
• Time with kids so they feel important, valued, and
• Endless waves of satisfaction that come when we make a
difference in the life of a child