Keep It Simple and The Same
It is important to share a storybook about social issues in a typical manner. So, if you read with your child after lunch or at bedtime, introduce this book during those familiar times.
Do not link the book to any specific event from the past, where there was emotional distress. For example, do NOT say, “We are reading this book to help you treat your baby brother nicely.” Just start the book as you would typically do.
Read the book as if it were just a story. So, on the first reading, let the book tell the story without extensive discussions, except perhaps to clarify the meaning of the story.
Be prepared to read the book many times. Your young child will need multiple exposures of the ideas in the book for them to absorb the concepts and then change their behavior, especially if they are prone to temper tantrums.
When to Start the Learning
After your child is familiar with the story, you can start the discussion about how to change your child’s behavior.
Let’s use the story of RJ to demonstrate what to do. In the storybook “I Just Don’t Like the Sound of NO!” RJ refuses to listen to “No” but eventually he is convinced to say “okay.” You can see the entire story on YouTube. In the storybook “I Just Don’t Like the Sound of NO!”, RJ typically refuses to accept “No,” for an answer. He gets stuck on his own thinking with that word “No.” But by the end of the story, he has learned the benefits of swapping “No” for “Okay” and waits to ask why later when he is calm.
Setting the scene: After reading the book one more time, talk in terms of how RJ has turned his behavior around and how proud his parents are. You are summarizing the main points of the story, while setting the stage for what you want to happen. In the midst of your discussion about the story, you start to apply the lessons of the story to your family situation. At that point, you can make a positive statement such as “I will be proud of you when you say okay today. We can talk about the situation after lunch or after supper. I know you will be able to make us proud of you, for saying okay instead of no.”
In the Moment: Or you can wait to see if your child has absorbed the lesson and try making a change in the moment of negative behavior.
Use Connections to Stop a Crisis
At the beginning of a small crisis, you can gently remind your child of some of the details from the book to help them get past their own tendency to get stuck. You can use this story to support your child in the moment of a crisis. For example, if your child seems to be stuck on one solution to an issue, you can use a story to help you move your child along in their thinking. Get down to their level. Then, you can say something like this, “Remember how RJ in our favorite book says ‘Okay’, instead of ‘No’.” and things turn out great for him. Let’s try that now. Let’s say “okay” and then talk about it after lunch.” You are essentially modeling appropriate social behavior for your child.
In your persuasion tactic to get things turned around, do not ask your child if they want to be like RJ because they will just say “No.” Use language that assumes they will want to co-operate. And then help them along by spelling out the essential details. The terms “let’s…” or “Why don’t we …” is a great way to start. And then remind them to discuss the matter later, such just before bedtime.
And when compliance happens at last, of course, praise your child for making the change in behavior. Thank them for changing their mind and tell them how proud you are of them. Explain that you like that instead of resorting to a temper tantrum, they said, “Okay.” and will discuss it with you later. In adult terms, we call this a win-win.
And if your first attempt fails, do not abandon the strategy. Keep reading the book and trying until it is successful. Your child deserves these lessons on how to negotiate. Negotiation is a skill your child will use their entire life and you can start them off to develop different strategies very early.
Certainly, you will have to tailor the way you use these storybooks with your child to suit both of your personalities. With a little patience, you can support their growth emotionally. Don’t forget to look for the solid parenting advice available with many of these stories to assist you on your journey. The following are merely a sample of the many different storybooks that are available.
Use these Storybooks for
Best Friend Issues Envy
Changing Negative Behavior
Empathy, Respect for Others
All About Making Choices
Developing A Positive Attitude
Storybooks can be a powerful method to change behaviour.
Help your young child understand emotional distress of all sorts by using this technique for storybooks. 5 Tips and Tricks for using Storybooks to Alleviate Emotional Distress
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