This week she started banging her spoon in the bowl of oatmeal. I think there are two kinds of parents in this situation – “Stop banging the spoon”, or “Bang the spoon slowly.”
I am in the bang it softly and slowly camp. She is not hurting anything and it is clearly some sort of game – a game I clearly don’t know how to play. Actually, you can see in her face that she feels powerful by making the noise. So I encourage her to explore the sounds that she is creating. I also make it an opportunity to practice listening to instruction. So we keep up with the banging within the parameters I set. We can also practice the concepts of slowly and softly. Since we are doing what she wants, she is open to learning. Once you go into the stop zone you create a confrontation environment that impedes learning and promotes crying.
The end goal, of course, is to stop banging the spoon. We can get there in a positive, creative, and learning way in the following steps:
- Oh, you are making noise! Cool.
- Okay. Let’s do it softer. (demonstrate banging softly)
- Cool. Now, let’s do it slowly. (demonstrate banging slowly)
- You can do it soft and slow! Look at how good you are.
The banging will stop without crying and fuss. You just have to give it a little time and not fear picking up bad habits. If she persists, you add in the next step.
5. Can Daddy have a bite? Please? (You can practice please and thank you in this scenario.)
And finally, if the hard banging continues you have another sign that your child is tired. Get in one last bite, wash up, and get to quiet time or nap time.
This works for us. After all, don’t you like banging things and making noise?