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Tuesdays with Jane: Are You Helping Your Child Remember?

One of my dear friends who was just a few years ahead of me in diving into parenting, gave me two pieces of advice that were more valuable than anything I received from the so-called experts. If you’ve ever battled with your child at the store or wondered if your child is capable of listening, try her tips for yourself!

Say it once…slowly. If you ask a question, or otherwise ask children under the age of 7 or 8 to respond to you, wait at least ten seconds for an answer. On average, adults wait only two seconds before repeating or rephrasing a question, or giving an answer if they interpret the child’s silence as an inability to answer. Children’s brains just don’t work that fast, especially if they have a more introverted personality. Slow down to the child’s pace and enjoy watching that little brain light up when understanding comes.

Remember that for young children, every time is just like the first time. Children may not remember your rules and norms from one visit to the grocery store—or the museum or the playground or Grandma’s—to the next. So, before entering, kneel down and take a moment to ask and repeat. “Do you remember our three rules for the grocery store?” Count out that ten-second pause to see if they can recall any of them. Then, repeat one. “Rule one: We don’t buy things that aren’t on the list, right, so we don’t ask for things in the store. Can you remember another now?” Give them a chance to recall—often hearing one triggers their recollection of another.

These two little tips brought sanity to shopping mall trips and nature walks alike. Funny thing—when we remember that children aren’t adults they do better at living up to our expectations!

By Jane Kise, Ed.D. – Educational Advisor and Consultant
Jane  writes an insightful post every Tuesday for Kidtelligent. Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is http://www.edcoaching.com/