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The Power of Distraction

Submitted by on Sunday, 17 April 2011No Comment

Howdy Mamas and Papas!

What do you do when you need to buy some time with your kids?

I mean, you’re in the middle of something that you need to finish up, and Junior is nagging you to go outside and help him search for worms in the neighbour’s gladiolas. Or, you’re driving, with the kids in the back in their car seats, and just as they start getting into an argument over who has the most fishies, you’re gridlocked in traffic.

The solution is simple. In a word, distraction.

Perhaps one could also describe it as, “changing their focus.” Which is something that Tony Robbins talks about a lot, and I believe holds great power.

I’ll give you an example.

One time I was in the bathroom at a restaurant with my preschooler, Smarty Pants. He was done, and wanted to go back to our table all by himself. I was still washing my hands, and he didn’t want to wait until I was done. He was focused on going back to our table on his own. Its great that he wanted to be so independent and had confidence in himself, and I encourage that as much as I can, but I also didn’t want him roaming around the restaurant solo.

I told him to wait, but he kept insisting on going.

Then, it came to me.

I told him I would be ready in 20 seconds, and asked him if he knew how to count to 20. Faced with this question, his brain couldn’t help but answer it. “1, 2, 3, 4, … ” he started.

He proudly counted to 20, and by the time he did, I was done and ready to go. I congratulated him and praised him on his great counting. He was happy, I was happy, and happily we exited the restroom in unison.

I was excited that it worked, not only becaue it gave Smarty Pants a chance to practice his counting and feel good about it, it bought me some time, and avoided an argument.

Another distraction technique that works for me is asking the kids to sing a song. It takes their mind off of whatever else might be bothering them, or changes their focus, again, as Tony Robbins might say.

Give it a shot and see if it works for you!

Leave a comment and tell us how it goes!

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