Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TEN WAYS TO SUGAR THE PILL...

First off, I'm not an expert. But I think that swapping ideas about getting children to do things they don't want to do is a great idea.  I've picked up a few techniques I'd like to share, if you've got some others, please pitch in.

1. PUNCTUALITY

Keep your clocks seven minutes fast.
Use digital time, because today's children get "Seven forty-five" better than "Quarter to Eight", because that's how time is displayed in their world.
Use races; "Who's going to be first in the car this morning!" "See if you can go upstairs and find your pullover and get back down in ten seconds...One!...two........" (Obviously, make sure they just make it.)

2. EATING

Put the food in the middle of the table so they can pick the size portions they want.
Soup is a great way to hide green vegetables.
Pasta is health food disguised as junk. (ok pity about the sugar)
Give them an orange, tell them it's "theirs". They may not eat it but they might take it to their bedroom and try it, because it's become their possession rather than your imposition.

3. DRINKING

"Water has special powers". (Actually, it does). Make out it enhances one's powers of football, gaming, arguing the toss, eg "Fair enough, that's a good argument, you can stay up an extra half hour. (pause), Have you been drinking water?"
Don't call it water. Try "Sky juice".

4. TEETH CLEANING

Who has the whitest teeth? Child or adult? Be seen religiously cleaning your teeth to try (but fail) to win the daily competition.
Give them an electric toothbrush (you can get battery ones for £7.99). This worked for a non-fostering family we know, the parents both had lekky brushes, the children manual ones and they  wondered why their children resisted teeth cleaning...

5. TIDYING ROOM/BEDMAKING

Link it to pocket money. Some people think this sounds  a bit materialistic, but giving kids money for nothing is not good preparation for life, especially foster children who might be third generation unemployed.
Give them a bonus for a job especially well done.  Bonuses should be for everyone not just bankers.

6. CALMING DOWN ('DE-ESCALATING')

When someone is getting heated, change the subject or cause a distraction. Asking a wound-up child whether they'd prefer an ice cream or a lolly is not "giving in" as one parent once tried to tell me, it's managing a situation - which is more important than "winning", which is what many misguided adults want.
Some children in care can turn strops on and off like a tap, their lives have been like one long episode of 'Stenders, everyone rucking away. I've even had success with such as looking out the window and going; "What's next doors cat doing on our wall...has she caught a bird?"

7. SHARE THE CONTROL

Saying "Would you like your bath now or later" or "I'll go and run your bath, come up when you're ready" allows them to feel some  control, a sense they have co-ownership of the thing you are basically demanding they do.

8. CATCH THEM DOING SOMETHING GOOD

Poor behaviour is easy to spot. We can be on their case day and night if we wanted. Spotting good behaviour calls for more awareness, but it's only right to be quick to praise and reward.

9. DON'T ASK THEM TO DO THINGS THEY DON'T WANT TO DO WHICH YOU'RE ONLY ASKING THEM TO DO BECAUSE IT SUITS YOU.

I don't drag mine round the supermarket, or along the High Street - if I can help it. I don't drive them for an hour on a Sunday to sit in Auntie Flo's house eating scones off the trolley. 

10. PICK YOUR SQUABBLES

Some things are worth ignoring, letting go. It's easier on them. And us.














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