Help! Toy-nado alert!

My house has been swallowed by a toy-nado! Like many new parents, I am again eating my words from a past life.  I swore I would not spoil my children with ‘stuff’ nor let every space in my house be ravaged by a toy-nado of plastic, but I have failed miserably.  It is well established that play is vital for children’s emotional, social and cognitive growth and “Toys are the tools of play”.  So tonight’s blog will attempt to address the following:  What are the best kind of toys to buy and how do you get the ‘biggest bang for your buck’ when it comes to toys?

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Language of Behaviour: How to use the power of words to parent

To say the task of ‘parenting’ is overwhelming, would be a gross understatement.  Behaviour management is a complicated beast:  Rules vs Freedom.  Boundaries vs Flexibility.  Bully vs. Pushover.  This is all in a day’s work.  But what if we took the emotion out of the equation and just examined behaviour through a ‘language lens’?  Could it be as simple as a ‘game of semantics’? Let’s look a little closer at what this ‘language of behaviour’ involves:

1. THE POWER OF CHOICE: X OR Y?

Are you currently experiencing the joys of a terrible two, threenager or teenager?  While you have a battle of wills with the small dictator in your life, remember the power of choice.  You provide the choices, you maintain the upper hand. 

Speech pathologists effectively use choices not just as behaviour management technique but also to reduce the language demands of the task. 

Instead of having to know and retrieve the answer, your child simply chooses from the two answers provided; you have scaffolded the task.

“Would like to wear these shoes OR those shoes?”

“Broad beans OR peas for greens tonight?”

2. THE POWER OF A BRIBE OR THREAT

‘If’ and ‘unless’ are known as ‘conditional conjunctions’ and these language elements are necessary for understanding the concept of a threat and a bribe.  Obviously, bribes and threats are not the gold standard in the world of behaviour but we (parents) are not perfect!

Bribe Formula =  ‘If x, then y’. 

“IF you eat your broccoli (x), you can have an ice block (y) for dessert.”

Threat Formula =  ‘No x unless y”. 

“I won’t give you a push on the swing (x) UNLESS you say ‘please’ (y).”

3. THE POWER OF ‘POINTING POSITIVE’

‘Pointing positive’ is a behaviour technique where you say ‘what to do’ rather than ‘what not to do’.   

The social-emotional side of ‘pointing positive’ is that you are parenting with positivity however from a language perspective it is easier to comprehend sentences without negation (ie. not).

“Don’t run!” INSTEAD SAY “Walking.”

“Don’t hit.”  INSTEAD SAY “Be gentle.”

Beware of using double negatives in your sentences with young children as these are even more difficult to comprehend.

“If you don’t take those undies off your head, we will not be going to the playground.”

INSTEAD SAY

“If you take the undies off your head, we can go to the playground.”

4. THE POWER OF STATEMENTS NOT QUESTIONS

If what you are saying is a non-negotiable, don’t ask a question.  Parents are often guilty of asking a question instead of providing a statement.

As speech pathologists, we often work on understanding how to formulate a statement versus a question. 

“Are you ready to go in the car?”  INSTEAD SAY “It’s time to go in the car.”

“Do you need to go to the toilet before we leave?”  INSTEAD SAY “Come and do a wee on the toilet before we leave.”

This ‘language of behaviour’ strategy is easier said than done as often parents are busy avoiding sounding like a drill sergeant.But if all else fails, resort to option 2 (bribes and threats!).

If you would like to read some more behaviour, there are plenty of insightful blogs at Simply Kids by Stephanie Wicker https://www.simplykids.live/articles/challenging-behaviours and plenty of evidence linking language and behaviour by The Hanen Organisation http://www.hanen.org/SiteAssets/Articles—Printer-Friendly/Research-in-your-Daily-Work/Printer-Friendly—Behaviour-Regulation.aspx )

There is simply no way one could possibly overstate the power of words.  In fact, if we as parents learn to use the power of words, we might experience some wins in the battle of behaviour.  Well it’s worth a shot anyway!

Thanks for hearing our call.

Your Little Birdies,

Janice and Tania

Bear Hug Unboxing

If you are looking for something to entertain the kids over the Easter break, our Bear Hug book box (for 3+ year olds) will certainly take the sting out of some long days!  An added bonus of our book boxes is that #winning feeling you get knowing you are doing something really positive for your child’s communication and literacy development.  We at Little Birdie Books are so much more than books in a box and this blog post will give you a little peek inside one of our best book boxes yet…’Bear Hug’!

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Are you raising ‘brave kids’?

‘Brave kids’ is definitely up there on my mental list of ‘how to be a good parent’ but how to achieve this? Your guess is as good as mine!
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What’s Up Doc? Talk with a G.P.

Welcome to another edition of the “What’s Up Doc?” Q & A series! In celebration of this month’s book box theme, The Doctor’s Kit, we have had the pleasure of interviewing a variety of professionals in the medical field. This week we will hear from Dr Ian Black, General Practitioner.

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What’s Up Doc? Talk with a Radiologist

Welcome to the “What’s Up Doc?” Q & A series! In celebration of this month’s book box theme, The Doctor’s Kit, we have had the pleasure of interviewing a variety of professionals in the medical field. This week we will hear from Dr John Blazak, Radiologist.

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