Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Toddler Tactic #2 - Eye Level

Life is busy and nearly every day I've got errands to run, appointments to attend and/or meals to cook.  If you and I think our lives are busy, imagine how this dizzying array of activity must feel to a little person who sees the great big world from knee height.  It's probably scary and frustrating and overwhelming at times (for both of us!).  I'm pretty sure I'd be grateful for anyone who was willing to get down and speak to me on my level if I was a little person. 

For this reason, before asking a toddler to change course, I've found it really helpful to get down on the ground at eye level and involve myself in what he's doing.  I might help to build the tower up really high or ask why all the teddy bears are sitting in a row.  This conveys my interest in him and his play, but also demonstrates respect for his play.  After we've interacted for a few minutes, I will then suggest that some other action is required on his part.  My words are far more likely to be heeded if they haven't been delivered in a barking tone from across the room.

I have found this tactic to be really helpful when Riker is upset as well.  I know that I feel more understood when a friend sits down beside me, looks me in the eye and offers the occasional nod and smile.  The same goes for toddlers.  Bending down, gently touching their arm and looking them in the eye goes a long way to helping them find the resources to calm themselves.

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