''When children can't stop talking, teachers wind up screaming. You make a game of it, so children have to listen, move, balance, watch … combining established rhythm and movement techniques … help students learn to pay attention.”So, I began to use a simple technique heard in many schools – a rhythmic clap that my kids have to repeat. This is acknowledgement that they know I am asking for their attention. It is an audible signal to stop what they are doing. It is clear and direct. It doesn’t make me want to scream and yell in frustration! Kids like to move. Have you noticed how quickly they can memorize things, sing songs, and learn short simple tasks? This easy action of clapping is developmentally appropriate. Expecting them to pause the TV show or put down the toy when I start talking is always going to leave me frustrated. It is unrealistic to think they will learn to do that without a few beginning steps. Clapping has become a training step in showing respect, responding in a timely manner, obedience, and how to listen for cues. It has created a habitual response that keeps their brain engaged. What was unexpected was how it gave our kids independence and confidence to get our attention in a less demanding way. Do you ever tire of hearing your kids yell for you across the house? Or worse: from the bathroom? One way we helped our children learn to respond to us quickly was by letting them use the clapping technique to call for us. When we would come to them and praise them for not yelling our names across the house a new language was created between us – a language that allowed us to hear each other and communicate clearly, to give each other the attention deserved.
It takes a village!
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