Kitchen Table Time

Are you listening?

Children don’t listen! This is a complaint shared by parents and teachers alike. Teachers wait until everyone is quiet and all students have settled down and then proceed with instruction. Parents exercise creativity and patience hoping for compliance when giving their children directions.

We all experience it and we all know it: It is very frustrating to waste time repeating the same thing over and over and over. We adults are convinced our children have tuned us out. At the sound of our voice, the invisible earplugs go in. Our voices are getting muted, and the problem seems to be getting worse.

It is time for us to put our heads together and come up with some new ideas on how to tackle this age-old problem, which is exacerbated by new technology. We are competing not only with the TV and video games, but – in the case of the younger set – toys that blink, flash, whirl, talk and sing.  The competition is stiff, and we have to think innovatively in our approach to possible solutions. After checking into programs like Communication Lab and doing some online research, we came up with a list of techniques you can add to your own bag of tricks.

Communication Lab instructs teachers to use acronyms for teaching students in the classroom on how to sit up and pay attention. For example you could use the word LISTEN. L is for lean forward toward the speaker, I is for act like you are interested in what the speaker is saying, S is for sit up and be silent, T is for track the speaker, E is for eye contact, and N is for nod with acknowledgment.  Teachers actually rehearse this practice and eventually just write L.I.S.T.E.N. on the board as a reminder.

Using ideas from AskDr.Sears.com, we came up with some techniques that are sure to improve your performance as “commander in charge” of children!

The authors have a combined 75 years of teaching experience in kindergarten, first, second and third grade in area schools. Their book, “Kitchen Table Time: Recipes for Success” can be found at I Love Books in Delmar and The Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza in Guilderland.

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