First, Can’t-Do Goes Solo…
and then, Can’t-Do Teams Up with Too-Tired.
One of the most rewarding experiences I have in working with children is having a child join me in the fall and hearing from a parent in a very short time that their ‘timid child’ or their ‘negative’ child or their ‘defiant’ child has become so positive and self-confident.
Strong as it sounds, the reality is that the Can’t-Do Crabbie can really do a number on children. It impacts both how they think of themselves AND how others view them.
Beating Can’t-Do is very rewarding because of the confidence we gain in being able to do something we first see as difficult or something that we are afraid to even try. This is true for adults as much as it is for children. Teaching kids at a young age how to beat Can’t-Do gives them an incredible gift: Confidence! Confidence that sticks with them into their adult life.
For more basic Can’t-Do info, visit our website under Crabbies. We talk about the multiple faces of Can’t-Do. For the purposes of this post I will first address how to manage Can’t-Do when your child is faced with something they really cannot yet do and then second, when Too-Tired is – an often ‘hidden’ – part of the problem.
Setting your child up for success when they are faced with something completely new that they really won’t be able to do at first.
Sometimes your child may state, “I can’t” because they legitimately do not know how to do what is being asked of them. In these cases, it is important to teach them and to help them. This often requires breaking things down step-by-step or helping them master an easier task first. Another good strategy is to offer to do things together, with them taking on more responsibility than before at the same time that you help do things that are beyond their current ability level. Think of first time bowling (or anything else new). To start, use guard rails. At first the ball bounces off them a lot. They keep your child from getting frustrated and giving up because the ball hits some pins. Fun! So confidence grows. And with time, practice, feedback and fun – Bye-Bye Guard Rails!
Whether your child is going to do something completely new or something they have done many times before, if they are tired, the chances of Can’t-Do being an issue is very close to 100%.
Fact #1: It does not matter how justifiable the reason for your child being tired is, the truth is that it is highly likely that being tired will come back to bite you when it comes to Can’t-Do.
Fact #2: It comes back to bite you because when they go to try something familiar or something new, even if they are not dealing with Too-Tired in that moment, the memory of the struggles of the previous attempts that didn’t work because of Too-Tired kicks in so that Can’t-Do still gets his foothold even without Too-Tired being right there.
I cannot stress enough how vital it is to recognize when Too-Tired is behind Can’t-Do when it comes to turning things around and changing your child’s ability to tackle those hopeless feelings that are behind Can’t-Do.
The good news is that as complicated as this sometimes seems, the amazing reality is that once you recognize when Too-Tired is the issue it is no longer complicated.
The first step is explaining calmly and kindly to the child that you know the real issue is that Too-Tired is teaming up with Can’t-Do.
Note: If you are in the early stages of being a CrabbieMaster yourself, recognize that over time your child will trust what you are saying in these situations. Adult/Child relationships are built over time. It is about intentionally creating positive interactions. Little by little. This is what CrabbieMasters is about.
The second step is to work with the child to first beat Too-Tired and then tackle something that they will be able to have success with to rebuild some ‘can-do’ confidence. And then move on again to try whatever’s harder!
Please feel free to comment here or private message me with your struggles or successes when it comes to beating Can’t-Do. The goal of CrabbieMasters is to build a supportive community.
Make it a good day.
As the preschoolers were sitting with me the other day, they were recalling the obstacle course the older kids had made last summer.
One of them asked, “Miss Becky, can we do that tomorrow?”
Suddenly, three Crabbies were standing right there in front of me!
“You still have to help the kids sign all those autograph dogs. You can’t set up an obstacle course too! Tell them there is no time. There’s just no way. They’ll have to wait for another day.”
While the Crabbies were talking to me, I could hear another child ask, “Can we, Miss Becky? Can we do an obstacle course tomorrow?”
This time I answered, “It would be fun, but I don’t think we can. We have to sign all the dogs tomorrow, and I have to manage that. I won’t have time to set up an obstacle course and get lunch ready too.”
One by one, the kids showed me they are CrabbieMasters:
“Miss Becky, we can’t let Can’t-Do win.”
“Half of us can sign the dogs while the other half works on the obstacle course. Then we can switch.”
“If we all pitch in, Hurry-Up won’t have a chance!”
“We can help you, Miss Becky!”
As I said, “Okay. Let’s give it a try,” I watched the three Crabbies out of the corner of my eye. I watched them quickly slump away.
“Whew!” I thought. “They almost had me today!”
How did it all work out, you ask?
Well… see for yourself!
Another fun way to keep the Crabbies at bay!