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Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Counting

Well, Week Two of the Little People went pretty well, all things considered.  Basically they just rode that ride that I like to call the "Little People Adjustment Rollercoaster", where one day things went pretty smoothly, and the next day I was asking myself, "What is WRONG with these children?"  And then the next day would be a little better.  

I did start Counting last week.  You know Counting - where you give them to three to shape up, or else unfortunate (and yet appropriate) consequences  happen to them.    This particular method is based on a book called "1-2-3 Magic" that is very effective.  I think the large part of this effectiveness stems from the fact that when you look straight at a child and say, "That's one," you are no longer pleading, cajoling or waffling while trying to convince them into a better way of acting.  It's clear cut.  Plus you use that Serious Teacher Voice and stern look, which can prove to be quite shocking to them.

In fact, the first time I did this in front of the group last week, it was because Little Johnny kept turning around on the carpet and making faces at Little Sammy to make him laugh hysterically.  I had already explained to Johnny why we didn't do this on the carpet and I had reinforced my expectations several times.  Finally I was fed up, and I gave them the Stern Look and used the Stern Voice to say, "Johnny, that's one.  If I get to three, you will take a time out at the back table."  Immediately, silence fell over the whole group and a little voice from the front said, "I want to go home now."  You would think that I had hissed the words or something.  

However, Johnny didn't turn around anymore, and every since has been keeping an eye on me cautiously, as if a second head would sprout on my shoulders that permanently held the Stern Look and Voice.

Of course, Counting does have its challengers.  Like the child who catches on really quick to the system and just starts counting for me.  When I say, "Little Ricky, you need to keep your hands to yourself and not swing them around in your neighbors face," he says cheerfully.  "Okay.  That's one." And then in then cafeteria when I say, "Ricky, your lunch box stays on the table," he says, "Oh, okay - now that's one," as if he's starting the count over for me.   Why thank you, Ricky.  I needed a little counting help there.

So far I haven't counted higher than one.  But then again, this was only Week Two.

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