When I first became a parent, I would often ask friends for their best advice for a new mom. I received MANY great suggestions but I will only mention a few. I had one friend tell me, “Always bring snacks, have them available in your bag just in case.” Another said, “Always bring toys, you never know when you might be stuck somewhere and need something to occupy your little one.” This advice was full of wisdom and when I am caught in the situation where I am without snack or without toy, I kick myself because I asked for this advice, I was given it and have now failed to use it!
Another good friend of mine told me the best parenting advice she recalled receiving when her children were young was, “distraction is the best way of surviving the toddler years.” What super advice! We’re all looking for ways to survive and the key of ease through this challenging stage is invaluable.
The ‘distraction’ tactic can be used when trying to keep little eyes from seeing something, to changing the subject during a meltdown, to just providing equally exciting options to remove a desired object. As an example, I do not want my child to play with the phone so I might say, let’s put down the phone, “for later” so we can dance while I am turning on music and begin to wiggle (and removing the phone from view). We’ve all been able to embrace our own experiences of distraction with our child, like when you are playing with a toy and you ask your child to get a toy a few steps away and on their way they see something else they now want to play with and move on to something new. I believe as mentioned in The Power of The Whisper that whispering is a successful tactic because it is not only a slight distraction but an entire refocus for the child.
With this distraction tactic at the forefront of my mind for quite some time now; I have had time to look at the affects and values of distraction. It is not only valuable as a tool for survival for the parents of small children put people in general. How many times do you have a thought slip away because something else has temporarily altered your train of thought? Recently, I find I may be having a conversation with someone, become temporarily preoccupied and have to ask what I was talking about. This may relate back to the ‘waffle/spaghetti brain‘ concept because sometimes as a women, we get so many thoughts in motion, we can easily become ‘distracted’ and lose focus while a man’s waffle can become ‘distracted’ if the subject changes and he loses what waffle cup he was in. We are all susceptible to the ‘distraction’ tactic being used on us if we don’t maintain our focus; we may end up like the toddler walking to get a toy but returns playing with a new one.
Let’s use the power of distraction to help out not only with parenting our children but embrace our vulnerability to distraction, distraction!
photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net