Sunday, March 29, 2009

Children and head bangers

Via /. comes the surprising news that three year olds are not low-functioning adults.

"For example, let's say it's cold outside and you tell your 3-year-old to go get his jacket out of his bedroom and get ready to go outside," Chatham explained. "You might expect the child to plan for the future, think 'OK it's cold outside so the jacket will keep me warm.' But what we suggest is that this isn't what goes on in a 3-year-old's brain. Rather, they run outside, discover that it is cold, and then retrieve the memory of where their jacket is, and then they go get it."

You might expect a three-year old to plan for the future if you've never spent any time around one.

"If you just repeat something again and again that requires your young child to prepare for something in advance, that is not likely to be effective," Munakata said. "What would be more effective would be to somehow try to trigger this reactive function. So don't do something that requires them to plan ahead in their mind, but rather try to highlight the conflict that they are going to face. Perhaps you could say something like 'I know you don't want to take your coat now, but when you're standing in the yard shivering later, remember that you can get your coat from your bedroom."

Only a head doctor would try that passive-aggressive headbanging crap with a three-year old.

You say 'Get your coat'.  He says 'I'm not cold'.  You say 'Do it anyway'.

Boom.  There.  Done.

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