Originally Posted by flower01
Can anyone help me with a good phrase he can replace that with...or something concrete to do instead.
Seems to me you both are on the right track.
You might like to bare in mind that
- often children are too busy to pay attention to us lower mortals
- many (most?) 4 y/o are neurologically impaired when it comes to following verbal instructions without the adult really "linking" with them
- once you have their attention, they are usually willing to listen, but it is useful if it is relevant to them
- it is easier for small children to pay attention in the future if the experience of doing so the last time was not unpleasant.
- for those that think that the prospect of a punishment will make a child focus, think again. It is more likely to create a mindset of inflexible stonewalling, waiting for the "bad thing" to go away.
The main solutions for me are
- to save the verbals for when the child is already really focused on you, or else you get tuned out.
- avoid "calling" to get their attention just yet... (that works from 6) because you are using up your "attention credits"!
- You have to get right up to them, physically, and look them in the eye. Or blow a fat raspberry on their tummy, whatever works for you.
- make sure that half your "initialisation of communications" are for goodies or micro-treats: (apple slices, a cherry with a blob of icing, mini cake (1/2 inch square popped in mouth), spoonful of yoghurt, or whatever you use in your house. This makes paying attention worth it for child. ;-)
- 4 looks old enough to follow instructions. It isn't. You will need to be prepared to do it with the child, standing next to them if needed.
I started with a lot of treats and when I had a treat ready, my "initialisation of communications" call was '(child's name).... are you busy?'
And they'd be right there!
got to rush off
PS, if you don't get the result you want, or the child does not co-operate, you have not worked it out yet. But please don't get frustrated with the child!