10 July 2007

The magic corner

One of the bloggers who inspires me has a daughter who is the same age as Annalivia. She writes about the joys and challenges she experiences in her two-year-old at the same time, or shortly before, I get to experience them. She also has the advantage of having parented four other children through this age, so when she talks, I tend to listen closely.
From her, I got a technique for dealing with whining and fussing that has been SOOOOOOO incredibly helpful for us. Basically when Annalivia fusses or whines, I calmly and politely ask her to go stand in the corner and when she is quiet and can talk nicely, she can come out. This is the only behavior that illicits this consequence. The corner is in the living room near us, but not with us. The "corner" also travels -- at my parents' house it was a chair in the main room.
So far, she has been in the corner four or five times. The first few times produced a big fit. (My poor grandfather was subjected to one last week. He wanted to rescue her and I wouldn't let him. He said, "Well, a woman in tears..." What a sweetie.) I ignored her for the most part, though I did remind her that when she was quiet and could speak nicely, she could come out. When she quieted down, I invited her to come out and she came and got lots of hugs and kisses. The last few times when I've asked her to go to the corner, she has composed herself very quickly. She still collects on the hugs and kisses though.
Today, she sounded as though she was going to start whining a few times and I asked her very calmly and smilingly if she was fussing or whining. She immediately said no and asked politely for what she wanted.
That corner is magic, I tell you. We have gone from constant toddler fussing/ whining meltdowns to NONE. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
The magic corner. It might work for you, too.


Cara said...

"I asked her very calmly and smilingly"

I love that :) I try to do everything calmly and smilingly also, it just makes the day much more pleasant, doesn't it?

Jim and Amy Rennie said...

We do that at school . . .works like a charm! Now if only our parents would reinforce it at home, we might get down to zero too.