Friday, February 10, 2012

Are You Listening?

I've heard it said that if you say something once to a man, you may as well have never said it. (It was a man who said this; no insult to men intended.)
I'd like to coin a new phrase:
If you say something to a child and don't ask them to repeat it back, you may as well have never said it.
This is not necessary for all children, but in my experience it is definitely a time and sanity saver with most children.
It goes like this:

Me: "Elena, I need you to go upstairs and get Julia's shoes. They're on top of her dresser."
"Ok now, what are you going to do?"

Elena: (she repeats back the instruction)

Me: "Ok go ahead"

Elena: (does as asked)

Here's how that could have gone:

Me: "Elena, I need you to go upstairs and get Julia's shoes. They're on top of her dresser."

Elena: "Ok, I'll go get them."

(She comes back down with Julia's shoes and dress.)

See how much time I could have saved by making sure she understood the instruction?


A Mama's Story said...

We have to do this a lot with Jared. I did it once in public and regretted it, because I think he felt belittled. :( I wasn't thinking in that moment. :(

But in our home world, having them repeat back has saved a lot of time and such. And even if they DID hear me, I think repeating it back makes it stick better for future situations, too!

NewKidontheBlogg said...

With a husband who has beginning Alzheimer's for the past three years, I have learned to communicate differently. He has a clipboard and checks things off. Three nights last week I taught a class. Two nights he did not warm up his dinner. Last night he ate two frozen dinners and didn't remember that he had two. I was very pleased.

There is so much about Alzheimer's that reminds me of dealing with a child. Then he will surprise me and have very adult conversations or offer wonderful prayers. With the short-term memory, he loves watching the same local news channel many hours and they repeat the stories so finally he gets them.