Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to calm a child with Attention by Reading

I was trying to get something done this morning and my two year old was doing everything in his power to be disruptive. He was grabbing books, throwing toys, singing at the top of his lungs and interrupting me every two seconds. Frustration was mounting. I was heating up. I finally decided enough was enough. This situation called for serious Attention by Reading.

He had a big basket full of German boardbooks on the floor. I sat him in my lap and we read. Book after book. He handed them to me one after another, often before I had even finished the one I was reading. As soon as he had my attention, he melted. All the frustrations were gone, leaving just a sweet chubby boy nestled in my lap. The Attention by Reading had done it's job.

What is Attention by Reading?

Attention by Reading is when you give your child your full and undivided attention through sharing a story. You let him pick the book, you let him decide when to move on, you let him set the pace. Disruptive behavior is usually a cry for attention and it usually gets negative attention. When you practice Attention by Reading, you replace the negative with the positive and everyone emerges rested and refreshed.

Why is Attention by Reading so powerful?
You've heard the complaints before. Kids these days are spoiled. They have way too many toys. They don't appreciate all their parents do for them. Yet in our busy lives, the one things kids don't have often enough is our full and undivided attention. In the hectic pace of day to day life, there's always another room to pick up, the race out the door to a soccer practice to race, a bill to be paid. Kids may have lots of things but they often don't receive quiet uninterrupted time with a parent to just be together. In the grand scheme of things, which is more important?

When you drop everything to read with a child, he sees that he is valuable to you.
He knows mom is busy and often rushing around. But if mom stops to be with him, it shows him that he is important to her, at least as important as all the other things on her to-do list. When you let him be in control by picking books and setting the pace, he feels capable and strong. Do your kids know they are as important to you as is serving dinner on time? This is one way to show them.

When you cuddle him in your lap or sit close on the couch, he is immediately calmed. His breathing will relax and he will snuggle in closer. His mind focuses on the story, the pictures, the sound of your voice. All other distractions in the room fade away. As he focuses, he is calmed and his energy is restored to a positive place. The frustrations that were so important to him (and you) a few minutes before are no more. All is well in the universe for a kid who's snuggled up sharing a book with a parent.

Attention is love!
Your child knows it. If you show him you know it, too, you will be greatly rewarded.

Reading with a child is a direct path to build a bond and reconnect with him.
Don't neglect this opportunity! It's free, it's fun, and it's guaranteed to improve the behavior around your house!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a two year old who needs some more attention. I'm off to find a book.

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