We are all familiar with the uncanny ability of toddlers to completely tune out their mothers voice, or respond to requests with explosive melt-downs. Requests that he use the potty or go to bed are especially chaotic. Tonight, I tried something new, and it has blown my mind…. Puppets, my friends. Puppets.
|The Elephant That Saved Bedtime|
Mr. Elephant: “Oh boy! I can’t wait to see your room! Can you show me?”
Child: “OK!, Come on! I have a race car bed!”
Mr. Elephant: “You DO!?!?! WOW!!! COOL!!”
Child: “Yeah, its really cool.” (walking up the stairs, with none of the typical sobbing)
Child: “YES!, Come on! I have superhero toothbrush!” (Child continued discussing superheros with the elephant as I surreptitiously applied toothpaste to the brush and began brushing his teeth)
Child: “Sometimes I don’t like when my mom brushes my teeth.” (Whoa! He’s confessing to the elephant! This is solid gold.)
Mr. Elephant: “Oh, I’m sorry! Your mommy told me that brushing your teeth makes them clean, and prevents yucky cavities. Cavities hurt!”
Child: “Yeah, cavities are really bad!” (done brushing, rinsing, no tears so far. Inner goddess beaming)
Mr. Elephant: “Is THAT your Potty?!? Cool! I wish I knew how to use the potty!”
Child: “I’ll show you! Its easy! I can pee standing up!” (Holy Jesus, this is insane.)
Mr. Elephant: “Wow! You’re good at that! Let’s wash our hands!”
Child: “Ok! you have to use soap to get rid of the germs.” (LOVE how he’s giving advice to the elephant)
Mr. Elephant: “Can I see your room now?!”
Child: “OK! come on! I have monster truck pajamas!”
Mr. Elephant: “Wow they are awesome! Can you put them on by yourself?!”
Child: “Yes! This is what people wear to bed.” (He proceeded to explain each step to the elephant)
Mr. Elephant: “Can I sleep in your cool bed tonight?!”
Child: “Yes! You can sleep on my monster truck pillow!”
Mr. Elephant: “Oh boy!”
Daddy entered at that point to read him a book. My son was beaming with pride at all that he accomplished, and how much he had taught his new friend. He owned bedtime, for once in his life. He showed someone else how the big kids do it, and he did it right. His eyes were glowing, and he went to sleep with a smile on his face, clutching the magical elephant.
I am still in shock at the power of imagination; the joyful innocence of it all. The magical way in which his belief in the elephant gave HIM control at bedtime, and allowed him to feel like the “Big one”. Which is all toddlers really want. They want control and power, just like adults. They want to be heard.
Resources and Tips for Using Puppets with your Toddlers
A great article on why puppets work, and how to use them well: (Source: TeachPreschool.com)
- Choose a puppet or stuffed animal that your child loves.
- Change your voice enough so that its easier for the child to imagine they’re talking to someone else.
- Use a different personality; innocent, curious, excited, and fun.
- Ask questions to make your child feel in control like “How do you do that?” “What is that?” ect.
- Talk to the puppet yourself, “Would you like a carrot too, (puppets name)?”
- The puppet should require that the same household rules be followed as you, and the puppet should always listen to mommy/daddy as well.
- If your child doesn’t respond, try again! Different puppet, different voice, different setting.
- Children under the age of 5 are most likely to respond to puppets.
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The Magical Tantrum Solution: Puppets! goo.gl/atST1s #parentingtips #toddlers #parenthood @potomacfallsmom
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wishing joyful and pain-free days to all!
Tags: Parenting, parenthood, son, toddlers, children, bedtime, potty-training, puppets, parenting tips, tantrums