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When Your Young Child Only Wants One Thing

When your young child only wants that one thing, like that favorite teddy bear or favorite doll or stuffed animal there are two things that you can do to keep you both happy. I was consulting at a school where they were short one teacher. She was called to another assignment and all of her children, eight of them, had to come to the class that I was in. This meant that the teacher’s class that I was working with had double the children. Although it was only for a short time it was still overwhelming for the second teacher. She had already had 9 of her own students to deal with and now there were 8 more in not a lot of space.

I was about to begin my session when this happened and of course this caused a big disruption, chaos soon followed. The class I was working with were an older class of 3 to 4 year olds.  The class that came in consisted of 2 1/2 to 3, so they were younger. One of the young boys in the class loves” Thomas the Train”. He wants everything to revolve around or be about “Thomas the Train”. There are a few other boys that are in the class that are the same way but they are a little bit more flexible but not J. The second teacher had all the children that were entering her class to sit and read a book.

This was a great strategy to have the incoming class to sit and give them something to occupy their minds and hands. If the teacher had asked them to just sit and watch our session there would have been talking and fidgeting. Everyone was reading quietly(looking at the pictures actually and pretending to read). All of a sudden J is throwing his book across the table. He is giving his teacher a hard time. He is upset that the book is not a” Thomas the Train” book and does not want to read this book.

The teacher explains to me that he has to learn other things in school besides “Thomas the Train”.” Yes he does “, I agree. I understand both of their feelings. It was an unexpected event  for them both. It brought up feelings of anxiety and being over whelmed. I walked over to J and said “Good morning.” I looked down at the book. The title had the word “the” in it. I said to J. J do you see letters on the front of this book that are also letters in  “Thomas the Train”. Just the mention of “Thomas the Train” set him all a glow. He shook his head yes. I asked him to show me those letters. He showed me the “T” and “h”. “Good”, I say ” Now I want you to find all the letters that are the same letters in ” Thomas the Train” in this book. He agreed and began eagerly to look for the letters, and I went back to my session with the other class.

What did I do, I basically gave him what he wanted in a different way. In the way that I did it, he was still learning. He was reinforcing his letter recognition. He was also working on focus, concentration and awareness. As he focused and concentrated on the letters he was strengthening his discrimination skills and learning to tell differences and sameness.

This is something that you can do with your young child or student. You can create the essence of what they want, the experience that they want to have and have it be in a way where both of you are happy. Your goals are still being met because they are acquiring valuable skills in a harmonious way.

Lastly, sometimes only that one thing will do. To ensure that you will always  have the one thing when you need it buy duplicates and keep the other in a safe place. Asking questions about the thing that they love and relating it to something that they have and experience now also helps. Redirecting their attention to something else they may like is an option also.

Try this with your child and see how it works. You want to be calm and patient and treat it like a matter of fact sort of thing. You do not want to get into a power struggle or create resistance and tension. Please come back and let me know how you made out. If you have input now you can always leave a comment.

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