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The Parent Dilemma: Effectively Changing Activities

I recently came across this post in a mommy group:

“Ok ladies! There has to be a better way. I fight with my preschooler from 7:30-8 to eat breakfast and then from 8-8:15 to get dressed. I end up so upset and frustrated. What has worked for you to make mornings easier?”

The clinician in me asks the following questions:

What does your language sound like when giving directions to your child?

THIS? “Ok, mommy needs to get ready. We need to leave. Eat your breakfast, then get dressed, so mommy can get to work!” 

OR THAT? “First eat, then dress….dress, then go to school.”

What prompts are you using so that your little one understands when to change activities?

  • Picture Schedule (eating, dressing, car ride)
  • Timers (phone timer, oven timer, etc.)
  • Counting down (5 more minutes then…  1 more minute and all done [eating, dressing, etc.])

Does your child typically follow basic directions?

  • Give me ball
  • Put shoes on
The Takeaway:

  1. When speaking with little ones, we must first understand that that we are in fact talking to little ones. Too many words can get lost in their ability to process what you want. Shorten your statements.
  2. In order to establish a routine, you might consider using strategies that set the expectation (visual aids, timers, verbal reminders).
  3. If your child is struggling with understanding language, they may appear as being non-compliant, when in reality they need help understanding language. If this is the case, you may want to consider a speech & language evaluation.