Make it a goal today to use your child’s storehouse of language and knowledge to re-direct negative energy. Here’s how.
First, introduce or remind your child of this nursery rhyme, "Jack and Jill.”
Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down
And broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.
Then up Jack got
And home did trot
As fast as he could caper.
He went to bed
To mend his head
With vinegar and brown paper.
Talk about unfamiliar words, such as caper (to skip or dance around).
Call on your child’s familiarity with the poem the next time boredom or tiredness results in fussiness, crankiness, or another kind of negative energy.
You might begin to say the poem or ask: “Oh, who went up the hill with Jill?” or “Who went up the hill with Jack?”
If your child is not yet a talker, you ask a question and then answer it, to say, “Yes! That’s right!” Then go ahead to answer it.
Try sing-songing the poem. This just means to say it rhythmically as if you’re bouncing a ball.
With a verbal child, you might work together to name different uses of the word "jack."
When you’re sure your child knows the rhyme’s words and meanings, share your “leader” role. Your child will like imitating your model to ask you questions about the rhyme. A word of caution here: A young child may stray off-topic. If this happens, begin to sing-song the rhyme again, and your child is likely to join in . . . resulting in yet another win-win situation for your child and you!
A Talking Tip: Notice how repetition helps your child own more and more of the rhyme's words and the meaning. With ownership of language and knowledge, your child becomes a powerful speaker and learner.
Another Talking Tip: Notice how this kind of talking activity works to guide or redirect a seemingly-never-quiet-always-talking child's energies.
So what’s happening when you choose to engage your child in this kind of interactive talk? You and your child are connecting around vocabulary and knowledge. You're guiding or redirecting some potentially-negative energy. And you’re equipping your child with a verbal tool, along with modeled ways to use that tool whenever boredom or tiredness sets in.