Square Time

One area of training that Chris and I have neglected to tackle yet is in teaching J-man to sit still (for any length of time). His nickname as an infant was Wiggle and he has held true to his mobile ways into toddlerhood. When folks watch J for the first time, I’m often asked, “How do you keep up with him?!” because he doesn’t stop for anything.

However, we’d like to have J with us for the singing portion in Sunday service sometime soon, have a couple of flights coming up and generally think that sitting still is a good thing to learn for a young chap. I admit, I have been thoroughly intimidated by the idea of training Jonathan to sit still or quietly. But, his comprehension of instructions is improving and self-control will be good to learn young so that he can build on a good foundation as he gets older.

Today we took the plunge with carpet square time. Maybe a 2’x2′ square is a little small to start with for a toddler who doesn’t usually contain himself to one room, but the principle would be the same no matter the space constraint and we happen to have boxes of carpet squares waiting to be installed…so he got a square.

Our first day was 10 minutes with innumerable reminders to stay put and several shepherding missions on my part to retrieve my wandering sheep. I think J understood the concept, but forgot it any time he saw something more interesting off the square and two or three times he deliberately disregarded my instructions.

We’ve definitely got a ways to go. Any sage advice from moms who have won this battle with their toddlers would be much appreciated.

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5 Responses to Square Time

  1. Becky P says:

    Our square is MUCH bigger.

  2. acloserpeek says:

    Thanks, B. I’ve seen your rad carpet on pics, but we don’t have anything so cool. We could do rug time in the living room or try the couch, but I wonder if it will help him learn how to sit still?

  3. Jamie says:

    I love this idea, Sarah! I love the carpet idea. I’ll have to try, and then maybe I’ll have more thoughts. We do room time, and it’s successful, but anything BUT quiet. I was wondering if you might try to have some praise music going if you don’t already. Since your first goal is to have him in during music time. And, I was thinking if I did it, I might start being near him, not leaving his sight, maybe being next to him reading my own book (Bible time for mom, hooray). I would also sit Nate in my lap before I started and tell him face to face (firm but happy!) what I wanted him to do during that time. You could try a timer idea too, and tell him when it beeps it’s over, adding on minutes every day. You could start by saying things like, “We can wiggle and read and play, but we have to stay right HERE on this carpet. The rest of the room is a NO touch until the timer goes BEEP.” We talk like this a lot. Let me know your ideas. I may have to do this pronto. If the carpet idea is unsuccessful, my other random thought would be to try sitting him in your lap each day and listening to music together, almost pretending you are in church. (Maybe graduating to carpet time later?)

    • acloserpeek says:

      Thanks for your feedback, James. We need to talk for real soon!

      I didn’t play any music when we did carpet time because I’d really like this to extend to a more general lesson of quiet, independent play and, well, we don’t have any music devices in our living room :). I think we’re going to steer clear of him sitting with me (at least for this initiative) again because independence is a big part of what I want to teach him. I’d love to have a little more independence and self-control before baby number 2 is on the scene. That’s not a bad idea at all to use though for music time at church!

      I like the timer idea…don’t have one, but that might be a good investment and something that J can understand and work with. And I think talking to J before we put him on the carpet might be REALLY helpful. Smart. Very smart.

  4. I seem to remember that carpet square time for you 5 was for timeouts. When you all got wild, the carpet samples hit the floor and that’s where you all sat. Of course it was helpful to keep you all separated too during TV time and the like.

    10 minutes maybe too long to start with, perhaps 5 for several days and then work up from there. He has to get used to the idea that he shouldn’t move from there.

    Rewards are real nice too. Try the big hug for being such a big boy or the classic wet smooch on the cheek or even a special dance. Whatever you choose, make the reward exclusive to the carpet square.

    Good Luck!

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