Recently I decided to try a new strategy on our histrionics-prone Henry. He really seems to enjoy crying at the drop of a hat to express how he’s feeling about things. Don’t like getting your dipe changed? Bring on the caterwauling! Don’t want to eat what you requested for breakfast? Time for crocodile tears! Feel like protesting before your day at preschool? Cue the shrieking. You see where I’m going with this…
Time for a change, I thought to myself. So this weekend, after Henry cried and screamed his way through having his hair washed (as usual), I talked to him about what it might be like if he chose not to cry. l said, “If you could stay cool and calm during hair washing, things would go so smoothly! And quickly! And you could have a treat like an Oreo or something.” He sort of seemed to understand the no crying = treat idea.
Then I thought it might be worth prepping him with the same idea before preschool on Monday. Lately he’s been crying quite a bit at drop off and sporadically during the day. He can be such a sweetheart but he’s starting to become known as “the kid who cries a lot.” Not great. So on Sunday I talked to him a couple times about preschool, and how he could decide to be a happy guy and not cry at preschool. I reminded him how much fun it was, how Finny was always there to help him out, how he could have Ollie if he needed him, and how much the nice Maestras like him. I said “really, there’s no reason to cry, Henry. Preschool is fun, and it will be even more fun if you decide you don’t want to cry, and that you want to enjoy yourself.”
Lo and behold, success! In the car on the way to school, I heard Henry quietly repeating (unprompted!) “I’m not going to cry at preschool.” When we got to school and he was taking his hat and shoes off, he repeated “I’m not going to cry at preschool.” He wailed for a minute when he asked for a snack and I told him we just arrived and it wasn’t snack time yet, but then I encouraged him to go find something fun to do. He quieted right down, went off to play, and after smooches, I departed with zero histrionics! When we came to get the boys yesterday afternoon, I asked Maestra Yolanda how Henry did. She said he had a really good day and she even heard him saying “I’m not going to cry at preschool” a few times. (Apparently he also said “I’m not going to nap at preschool,” but his weary bod won that battle!)
That’s my boy!
[Update: Hen did even better today, not peeping even once in protest when I dropped off the guys! Way to stick the landing, kiddo. As Borat might excitedly say, “Great success!!” –J.]