I thought about writing this for my kindergarten blog, but I decided that I would reach more parents and teachers here.
This is about one of my pet peeves, okay?
It’s about people constantly telling kids to do something or NOT do something, and then following their words with “okay?”, which in effect cancels whatever they said.
I know the purpose of the inquiry is to determine if the child understands what you just said.
The intention is to ask if the child agrees to comply with your request.
But a common interpretation by the child is that you are asking his permission to give him instructions and he may just decide not to give it. “Stop that, okay?” just doesn’t have the same impact as “Stop that. Do you understand me? Stop that now!” The second “request” was the one used by my father, and believe me, he wasn’t asking my permission.
I try not to give complicated directions to the students in my class. I try not to have too many rules to follow. I try not to let them give lengthy explanations for their misbehavior. And I instantly call a halt to any excuse that begins with “___ told me….”
So the next time you tell your child to do something, please make sure it is simple, specific, and direct, okay?