Monday, February 4, 2008

Getting Past No

I have a little boy in my class who has a favorite word. That word is NO. Any question I ask gets a furrowed brow, a scowl and an emphatic little NO.

I'll say:
Do you want to sing a song?
Do you want to play?
Do you want to eat a snack.

At first it threw me off, but I think I've gotten better at getting past no. Mostly I just pretend his no is the answer I wanted to hear: Yes! And I try to ask less yes or no questions and more which one questions.

So we'll have singing time and I'll ask the class, Should we sing Head, shoulders, knees and toes?
I'll get no response except that solemn little NO.
So I'll say, Great! Where's your head? and then start singing the song.

When coloring time comes I'll ask Do you want to color?
Okay, which crayon do you want? Red?
He'll take it if it's a good day.
If it's a bad day I"ll just leave a crayon and paper in front of him and avoid looking at him so he can take it without feeling like he lost the standoff. It's worked pretty well.


Laura C said...

You could also give him "choice" questions: Do you want to color with red or blue today? Do you want to sing X or Y? (If choice matters; if it doesn't, you could just dump a bunch of crayons in front of him, and when he picks one up, you can comment on it and name the color - if you're trying to teach him colors, for instance.)

Some kids just learn to say no earlier (they hear it a lot and it's easier to say). One of ours would say no, given the opportunity, and if he thought the answer should be yes, he would respond with silence or maybe a mumbly grunt. After several months of encouragement, his affirmatives grew much stronger and frequent.

jeans said...

you're going to be such a good parent after this!

Melinda said...

Another option is to not ask questions. If you're going to do it anyway, why pretend they've got a choice? So instead of, "shall we have a snack now?" you say, "time for snacks!"

Good blog, by the way. I'm enjoying it. I'm not in nursery anymore, but my little guy is just starting and he loves it.

Abby said...

I like the announcement idea also.

Amber M said...

I second (third?) the "time for..." idea. I like that and two-word cues like "toys away" or "singing time" in a simple melody (third -- high-high-low). I avoid yes-no questions for that very reason (that, and the blank-stare response) :)