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1, 2, 3, MAGIC (or is it?)

Behaviour has been at the forefront of my mind this week.

After the sugar-fuelled highs of Easter and the tantrum/headache-inducing lows of 'back to school', I've been considering how to regain some routine, balance and harmony into my family life.

Ok, so maybe I'm being optimistic here (!), but for me the desire to get 'back to normal' after holidays is always a strong one.

I really enjoy the freedom that a holiday brings; spirits are high and rules are relaxed. There is unlimited time to play, more treats and bedtimes are not so strictly observed. BUT....back to work/school/real life brings with it inevitable restrictions which can cause confusion and sometimes a rather unsettled period. I mentioned in my last blog that I had started to introduce my own formula for dealing with my 3 year old's tantrums (I say "zip", count to 10 then "let's sort it out") and I received a few interesting techniques from others I thought I'd share with you.

One of my friends was telling me that she is trying to control her child's behaviour by using a technique from the ?1, 2, 3, Magic programme? which offers Parenting Solutions for Dealing with Difficult Behaviour in Toddlers, Children and Teens.

This programme's way of dealing with a child's ?naughty' behaviour is to use the ?3 strikes and you are out" philosophy. Basically the child only gets 3 chances to be naughty before he/she has to have time out. I'm not hugely familiar with this theory but it seems to me that, although you may be able to gain some degree of control (eventually), you are allowing them two opportunities to misbehave and not addressing the child's issue. Certainly, at Perform we'd get nowhere with this technique - we have a ?nip it in the bud? policy where we act quickly and decisively and ask the child to stop any misbehaviour straight away.

Of course, you could spend your life talking and reading about different techniques to help bring up your child. But I do think it's worth mentioning someone that one of my Mini Ps mums told me about. She has a huge "crush" on Dr Harvey Karp, an American child development specialist - this is his website.

In a nutshell, Dr Karp believes that when a child (specifically a toddler) screams "I want a biscuit!" just before lunch, the way to deal with it is to repeat their demand back to them in the same tone i.e. "You want a biscuit! I know you want a biscuit!" Then offer them an alternative and an explanation; "Why don't you have this for now? If you eat a biscuit, you won't want to eat your lunch." The idea is that, by repeating their demand you are communicating that you understand it and this calms the child down.

Whatever your personal feelings about shouting "You want a biscuit!" to your toddler while he or she is having a tantrum, it's unarguable that we all want to be understood and children are really no different. The idea is not to give way to your child's every whim but to simply listen and offer an alternative.

I tried this technique with my 20 month old and it seemed to work...but, saying that, it hasn't been tested halfway up the M40 mid-meltdown, so I'd love to know if any of you give it a go. I'd also be really interested to hear from anyone who follows the Parenting Magic and the Happiest Baby techniques. I'm off to experiment with my own two guinea pigs!

Leave a comment

    From Lucy Quick
    Thanks Ali. That's very interesting, I'll check it out. Lucy
    From Ali
    Hi Lucy.
    I am enjoying your website very much. As a performer myself, I find your approach refreshing and your articles informative. I don't know many of the parenting techniques you mention above, but I have a close friend who has used the Happiest Baby technique with both her children. It was amazing to see her swaddle and calm her babies in a matter of minutes. She bought us the DVD when our daughter was born, and we in turn have bought DVDs for other friends. Thought you might like to know! Wishing you continued success...
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