I am very against shooting "The Look" to kids. I didn't experience it growing up. I associate it with humiliation and intrusive parenting. And I'm wrong.
"The Look" can save a great deal of emotional energy and send clear signals to kids, exactly when they need them. Most inappropriate behavior is really a question; "Is this okay?" Best answer? A look that says "No."
We can prepare our kids for visual signals. We use body language anyway, in group situations. But without teaching our young ones what to expect, it IS unfair and that IS humiliating. By preparing, you can develop a mutual trust that will enrich your relationship into the future!
More Oscar nominations ahead: A big "NO!" scowl face isn't really necessary and that's the beauty of it.
- Work on a hand signal for "I need your eyes". Loads of time to explain at home...
- Emphasize looking words. "This, That, Here, There". Point with your finger, encouraging "eye power".
- Create facial expression that your child will come to associate with directions.
- A raised eyebrow, a bewildered face, an "absolutely not" face...
- Don't forget a "You are doing GREAT!" face!
Same ideas we use for verbal resolution, at a fraction of the frustration. And strengthening another learning method for you AND your child. After a modest practice, you will be cross-eyed with amazement the first time your child responds in a public environment and nobody was the wiser. That is a trust builder!
Remember children, like all of us, want to know the limits and the answer! Check in with your successes and obstacles and help all of us stay committed to the resolution. And never hesitate to firstname.lastname@example.org.