The Art of Distraction
This is like magic.
It's especially for two year olds, but can be used with good effect on any age. Even teenagers, though a bit more cluey, often fall for it.
The rule for two year olds is -
ignore and distract
Two year olds are exceedingly cute, very curious,
have strong wants, and are NOT big on logic.
Ignore current behaviour and distract with
something more interesting.
Look for the early warning signals, the storm
approaching, and use it then. This is preventative.
And, as you get good at it, people will say things like,
"Your children are so easy to manage. They must be
docile." And you smile sweetly and say, "Yes, aren't
Have a bag of tricks for your distractions. It will
include real things and pretend things. You know
children are big on imagination and recognise a
good game when they see one.
"What have I got in my pocket??!!" Said in dramatic accents, or whispered in his ear.
"What just flew past the window? - I think it was an owl!" After a look outside, he patiently points out the difference between a magpie and an owl and sets you straight once again, having forgotten the problem or at least, is distanced from it.
"Once I saw a fairy peek over the edge of that big round light. Don't you think fairies come to church too?" And she stares up at the light to catch a glimpse, instead of whining for a snack.
"AGGHHH! Come get this snail off the porch!!" or, "this ant out of the house!!!" He removes it with a look of "You poor, helpless thing. I saved you again." It will be years before he says- "HEY... you're not afraid of bugs...."
"I just saw a clown!!! Right here in the shopping center!" She is distracted by the search and finally "It was just a man with funny hair..."
Any thing, any time, any where.
Your bag of tricks has stories- He is squirming and almost starting to fuss -catch it early- and you whisper- "Once there were three billy goats gruff..." because you know he never fails to get a thrill out of that troll.
There are finger plays in that bag of tricks- Your hand is a baby- it cries and sleeps and laughs and gets angry and cuddles. She pats it and tends it.
Hide and seek- a coin, a safety pin, a button. "Shut your eyes". That expectant look as you hide it somewhere on his clothes, and that delighted look when he finds it. Your own private game.
There's music in your bag- her favourite song. Especially ones with actions or sign language. You can sing a song together silently.
Keep a few interesting objects in the bottom of your handbag- a magnet, a thimble, paper clips to string together, a nut and bolt.
Also anything from nature- a pod from a tree, "Did you know that that rock is somebody's house? Look under it and see?" "See that hole way up there at the top of that tree? What do you think is in there?"
Guessing games- "I'm thinking of a creature with big eyes and slimy skin...."
I guess you could say that you yourself are a bag of tricks and your child never knows what fun thing mum will come up with next. Never suspecting that you are using the art of distraction to cool her temper, steer him away from contention, delay her wants, keep him quiet, manage your precious child with love.