How to get a child thinking more

When a child forgets things, drops things, loses his clothes, goes to his room to get his schoolbag and ends up reading a book – you know you may be dealing with a dreamer!

The sort of child I am describing can be easily distracted, obstinately forgetful, unintentionally annoying and in trouble a lot of the time. I would like to suggest one way to help you with a child like this. As parents we tend to take on some very important roles. We can end up taking on more work thinking, and more responsibility than is helpful to our child and this is especially true if your child is a bit of a dreamer. A good question to ask yourself is – ‘Am I working harder than they are?’.

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Try some of these when your child forgets something like his watch for school (which he needs because he is the bell monitor!). Ask him what he thinks would be a good plan to manage the problem. It might sound something like this – “This is a bit of a problem. You will need to take a few minutes and come up with some ideas on how to solve this.”

  • Try very hard not to jump into problem-solving mode before he does (parents are very good at this). ‘Sit on your hands’ and wait.
  • Inspire your child with the confidence that you believe they have the ability to work the problem out. “I know you are clever, James, so I have confidence that you can come up with a solution to this.”
  • Stay on your child’s side. This looks and sounds like, “I know you will find it hard to face the teacher. It will be tough and you can make it.”
  • For a child who forgets the task you have just asked of them, try using another form of communication. Use one word, not a sentence. So if your child drops their towel on the floor all the time, just say, “Towel” and keep it sweet. Another way to communicate with a dreamer is to write down the instruction and clip it up somewhere they will see it. These children can get used to tuning out to parents’ voices and this gets into their consciousness via another pathway.
  • Keep your cool. Children do better when they are not fighting with your heat as well as their wrongdoing.

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