Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yes Ma'am/Yes Sir

I sit here typing on the couch with my sweet Daniel sleeping next to me, after falling asleep during a pretty funny episode of Wipeout (I know - so educational). My sweet Daniel has a fever tonight and I worry so much that I'd rather have him on the couch next to me than in his room for as long as I am up. So, I'll write awhile and watch over him.

One thing I've been wanting to write about is some advice I received about a month and a half ago that was a HUGE blessing.

Daniel had had a particularly bad week at school. No 4 year old is perfect, but this particular week he was quite the trouble maker. He had talked back to the teacher and laughed at her, among other things. After 3 days of this, I called my Aunt Sarah. Aunt Sarah had been a pre-school director for a long time and she raised a boy (my family is full of girls), so at my mother's suggestion, I called her. Aunt Sarah was WONDERFUL and she gave me the following advice:

Re-learn respect by using "Yes Ma'am and Yes Sir". and praise him by using the words "I like the way you said that" or "I like the way you are playing right now"

We always expected Daniel to say "Yes Ma'am/Yes Sir" when he was being corrected for a behavior, but we weren't sticklers about it in general every day use. We should have been.

I spent the next day, re-explaining to Daniel that we were adults and he was not. More imporatantly that his teacher was an adult and he had to respect her also. So we played a game, a sort of Simon Says game, but where he needed to say "Yes Ma'am" after every command. I would say "Sit Down", he would say "Yes Ma'am" and do it. Then I would say "Stand Up" and he would say "Yes Ma'am" and do it. You can only imagine how funny it got when we started going a mach speed!!

Then purposely for a few days I would ask him to do something simple. "Daniel, Please go potty." or "Daniel, Please pick up your trains." After each direction, I would remind him to say "Yes Ma'am". When he did, I would say, "I like the way you said that." He caught on quick!

Within two days, the teachers were commenting to me about how well Daniel was behaving. He was saying "Yes Ma'am" and doing what he was told. Of course I armed the teacher with a sticker book and ever day Daniel came home wearing a sticker he got a Hershey Kiss before dinner!

Now, Daniel is saying "Yes Ma'am" consistantly and to all adults, not just his teacher. We haven't had a single problem in school (knock on wood) and I love hearing him say "Yes Ma'am, I can!" and behaving so well!!

I wanted to share this because I just can't get over how well such a simple change worked. We could have tried so many things, but just getting back to a basic made a huge difference!! It makes sense though - him saying "Yes Ma'am" made it hard for him to not do what he had just said Yes to! I would have never thought about that! So thank you Aunt Sarah!
And lastly - pictures from our big snow!


Dede said...

Great advice, thanks for sharing it! We have our moments with our 4 year old too.

Stacy, Pat and Aidan said...

Thank you Aunt Sarah!!! While Aidan isn't terrible, this will be HUGE in helping stay good more often. . .I am going to play the Simon Says game tonight!!

Tracey and Chuck said...

Sounds like you got some great advice! Daniel sounds like he is such a sweet polite southern boy! I think we will have to use that advice for Matt too!! Looks like lots of snow.....I am so ready for spring! :)

Joy said...

That sounds like a good thing to try. I find I slack off and that does not help Anna.

Patti said...

That is great advice - I've done the "Yes, Mom" or "Yes, Dad", but never tried to help him address other adults in a more respectful manner. And we can all have better manners in this day and age, that's for sure! It's been a pretty snowy winter for many of us - glad to see Daniel is having some fun in it. Right now it's only 4 degrees out, so we're not able to go out and enjoy the snow today.

Jane and Jim said...

BRILLIANT!!! Thank you for sharing!!