Friday, January 8, 2010

Make Mistakes on Purpose

To keep my happiness commandment #4 (Have fun!), I've been trying to make more mistakes on purpose when I'm around my daughter and my preschool-aged clients. This is something I learned from the book, "The Happiest Toddler on the Block," which is a pretty enjoyable read. Here are some examples of what this looks like:

I'm trying to get my daughter dressed for bed, but she's running around half naked in a sleep deprived frenzy after our 2 week hiatus from any semblance of a normal routine (a.k.a. Christmas break).
Me: Sweetie, it's time to get pajamas on. I need you to cooperate.
Banana (this is my daughter's nickname): (runs away)
Me: (sternly) Honey, I'm going to count to 3, and then I'll have to carry you back into the bedroom.
Banana: (comes into the room with a resentful look on her face)
Me: OK, now let's put these pants on. (sliding them over her head). Now that's not really working. Hmm, maybe this will help (sliding them onto her arms).
Banana: (laughing, sticks out a foot for me to put her pajamas on) No, mommy, they go on my legs!
(I seriously couldn't believe this worked so well!)

Here's an example from work today:

I'm trying to help a little boy learn to say his /k/ and /g/ sounds instead of using /t/ and /d/. He keeps saying "tar" for "car" and "tootie" for "cookie," and "bite" for "bike." This is called "velar fronting," and is a pretty common error that kids make in articulation (pronunciation) as they're learning speech sounds.
Me: Would you like this bike? (holding up a toy motorcycle)
Joey (name has been changed): Yeah, bite!
Me: Bite? You want a bite? Oh, you must be hungry! Hmm, I need to look for some snacks. (pretending to look around).
Joey: No, bite!
Me: Oh, you want ME to bite YOU? Okay, yum yum yum yum yum! ( I pretend to bite his hands).
Joey: (laughing) No, bite!
Me: You mean biKe? Bye-KKKKK? (sometimes holding out the /k/ sound so that it almost sounds like you're clearing your throat can make it easier to imitate, and it's ALWAYS easier to imitate /k/ and /g/ sounds at the ends of words at first. I also touch my throat just at the angle below my chin, which is where we make that /k/ sound.)
Joey: bye-KKKKKKK! (touching his own throat, too, as he says the word correctly)
Me: OHHHH, you want a BIKE! I see, here ya go! (we push/crash the bike together with some other truCKs he's earned).

Turns out I am pretty convincingly dumb.

While this is a little scary, I'm cool with it. Heck, anything that wins me a little cooperation from a kid without having to resort to bribery or time-outs sounds okay to me.

Do you remember any silly things your parent(s) or teachers did when you were a child? I remember once in 3rd grade, my teacher told us that she would tap-dance on a desk if we all learned our multiplication tables. We did, and she did, too! What a cool adult who can grasp the importance of FUN for kids' learning and engagement!

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