“What one thing would you like to do before we go?” Trick for late fours

My child development work continues to help me parent. I was noticing that, in the very late fours, children can put upcoming events in sequence, such that it makes them far more patient and reasonable. You can tell them, “I’ll be with you in two minutes,” and they are accepting of this. Or, “We couldn’t go get your food because we had to go to the store first.”

Further, I found that THEY realize they can push a few demands on you, too. You can tell them you want to put their bathing suit on. They might say, “Ok, but can we clean my hands first?” Or whatever it is that they want to do. They are far more reasonable, starting around 4.9.2 [y.m.w] in cooperating. You don’t have to fight them nearly as much. You don’t have to pretend they are a submarine to get them to a van. They have a sincerely heightened sense of realism. They get what’s going on. They understand the obstacles in the way. And they are a lot more cooperative.

I used this to my advantage with my youngest. We wanted to get ready to go to a restaurant. I needed him to put his socks and shoes on. He wasn’t. I really thought he had been more cooperative lately, and I could just explain the situation to him, and he would just do it. Well, not quite. However, I still “assume success is likely.” I thought about what he could do and this latest “sequencing” skill, where HE can tell ME what few things he needs. So I asked him, “What one thing would you like to do before we go?” And he gave his answer. We accommodated it. And, after that, it was no thing. He easily cooperated.

I recommend doing this at the milestone around 4.9.2. Yes, that specific of an age. You see, just before this, they might be an angry mess. Or still need fantastical things to catch their attention. Child development is simply just that sudden.

My goal in these short blog posts is to give you an idea that you can read in 30 seconds and might help you TODAY. If this helped you, maybe it would help someone else? Please share.

The Misbehavior is Growth series is growing. Look for the one on four year olds in early 2022 or so. See “Books” above for the latest.

Misbehavior is Growth: a growing series

Amber documents the age-related stages children go through. See her series, “Misbehavior is Growth.” Send your friends to The Observant Mom.

Leave a Reply