Wednesday, March 04, 2009

STOP does not mean GO

In order to enjoy the blustery cold weather in St Louis, we decided to go for 30+ minute walk around the Loop on the way to lunch at what we heard was a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant.
Unfortunately the restaurant was no longer there.
Luckily there was a sign on the sidewalk that listed all the restaurants that were still open in the area.
So, while Michael read the sign, Tovina and I, at Tovina's very speedy (re: not speedy) pace, walked on ahead. Unbeknown to me, T and I came upon a parking lot that used part of the sidewalk as a driveway. I only realized it when a car gave a bit of a beep to warn us they were planning on turning. Realizing that I not only did not have a hold of Tovina, but that she was even a couple of steps in front of me - almost in front of the car - I yelled, "STOP!"

Tovina giggled and ran... in front of the car. By no stretch of the imagination would I consider that stopping.
The drive was luckily paying a lot of attention and had stopped her car.

I caught the little miscreant, thankfully waved at the car, and gave a huge relieved sigh. I also realized that, rather than being deliberately rebellious, Tovina had no idea what "stop" meant. She seemed to think it was some cool new game which likely involved "catch" one of her other favorite games these days that also uses a lot of yelling and giggling.

Since I was not willing to carry her for the next 20 minutes, to say nothing of the fact that she wasn't about to let me, how exactly does one teach a child to "stop" in less than 2 minutes?
We could just use "no" which tends to make her stop whatever she is doing, but it can have some unfortunate side effects.

Instead we followed her lead and turned it into a slightly more focused game. See, Tovina recently learned about "run" and is a big fan. So together, heading down the sidewalk much to the amusement of passersby, we ran ran ran ran ran and Stopped! and giggled. And then we ran ran ran ran ran ran and Stopped! and giggled.
We didn't test her new found skill at intersections, but we did keep practising over the weekend and have played the "run and stop" game a few times since getting home. We think that whole "stop" will have a much better chance of working now.


Molly said...

That's funny. I just spent the weekend at the Horse World expo where I observed several professional trainers teaching 1000 lb animals that same game. Of course, it's a bit more like training the car than the baby, but the principle is much the same.

Jason said...

You need one of these:
Buddy Harness

I don't care if people think they're mean to the baby or not. If it keeps them "not dead" until they learn to listen and not run into traffic, I'm all for it.