The art of diversion

With a 3 and 2 year old under-toe all the time, I have learned a couple of tricks about keeping kids occupied. I am not an expert yet, and don't know if I will ever be, but I am planning on using the things I have learned to help keep the house peaceful and functioning as we add two more to our preschool brood.

My favorite parenting technique is called diversion. It works really well for this age range, because they have a short attention span, do not respond well to long explanations on how the behavior they are engaging in is not beneficial to their overall well being, and enjoy exploring new things. I can't take all the credit for this fabulous idea, because I read it in a John Rosemond book. Check him out. We really like his parenting thoughts and ideas, and most of the things that "work" for our family came from him.

Here is how it works:

-Child A/B or both are doing something they shouldn't be doing.
-I access the situation and see that it isn't one of our house rules, but still shouldn't be done.
-Instead of using our standard punishment (time-out), I distract.

{EXAMPLE: Where is your new motorcycle? Want to read a book? Did you hear the airplane that just flew by? Let's see if it is still outside!}

 -The key to distraction is to be really excited about the thing you are using to distract. 
-Don't mistake distraction and bribery.

And there you have it! The undesired behavior has ceased and the kiddos are on to new things.

I had to use this technique yesterday at the beach. Asher, my three year old son, has an issue with textures. Ever since he was born, we noticed how sensitive his skin was and how particular he would be to certain materials or tactile experiences. One thing he really didn't like: SAND. He has outgrown this aversion, but unbenounced to us, it would reappear yesterday.

While playing in the sand, I guess he had an itch by his eye and used his sandy hand to scratch said eye. And thus began the 40 minute tantrum of the three year old. For those of you who don't know my son, he doesn't do that. Seriously. He is a pretty well-behaved little boy, but that sand on the face put him over the edge. We tried many things to calm him down and then I remember: DIVERSION! I started to tell him a story about Asher the little boy who made a rocket out of a cardboard box and explored the moon. Then I sang a Jack Johnson song he has heard me sing since he was a newborn. After that a few snuggles, and he was ready to return to playing.

Now, the hour and a half car ride home that involved hitting, spitting, screaming and much more? Diversion was the last thing on my radar as I sat between the two kids in the back seat and enduring the worst car ride I had ever experienced. I told you, I'm not an expert!

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