Saturday, January 12, 2008

Manners, please!

Over the past month or so, we've been encouraging Elijah to say "please" and "thank you". We also started using the prompt "ask nicely". We were quite pleased and proud to discover about a week ago, that Elijah had started saying, "Cup, please!" and other requests without prompting. Every time he did, he was told he had lovely manners.

Imagine our astonishment when we realised we could actually stave off tantrums with these new-found manners! Whenever Elijah starts to throw a tantrum, we prompt, "Ask nicely." He immediately stops the tantrum and politely requests whatever item was out of his reach. Bliss!

Unfortunately, he hasn't got the cognitive or emotional development to realise that you can't always get what you want, no matter how nicely you ask. So unfortunately, when Elijah is not given the item he requests, a new tantrum starts. This kind of tantrum is not quite as easily extinguished. Distraction doesn't always work.

The thinking caps are on.


Brooke said...

We're having the exact same issues with Gavyn! He is doing so well with saying Please and Thank You, but doesn't always understand that "Please" doesn't guarantee everything. The fits he throws can be outrageous, and so far the only things that are working for us are distraction or ignoring the fit unless he's full on crying.

quilly said...

Do you have a time out spot? I suggest sitting him there and paying the tantrum no mind -- as long as he is safe.

The Mumma said...

Brooke, nice to know that we are not alone!

Quilly, we do, but we tend to reserve it for defiant behaviour. We'll have a think about using it for tantrums.