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The Happiest MIDDLE SCHOOLER on the Block

I've been reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block off and on for a few weeks now. One of the strategies that Dr. Karp suggests is the "Fast Food Rule." Here's how it works: if someone is upset, let them speak first, repeat back their feelings, and they say your piece. It's similar to the employee at the fast food drive through. You order, they repeat your order, THEN they tell you the total price.

So this FFR is meant for toddlers, but I have found that it works well on my husband (shhh...don't tell him!) and now my students!

Here is a typical conversation with one of my students.

Student (in a whiny voice): Ugh. This is hard. I don't want to do it.
Mrs. O (in a stern voice): Well, you have to, so get to work.

But here's how today's conversation went when I used the FFR.

Student (in a whiny voice): Ugh. This is hard. I don't want to do it.
Mrs. O (in an understanding voice): I know it seems hard right now. But I will help you through it and by the end of the assignment, it won't be so hard.
Student (staring at me like I'm an alien before hesitantly answering): Okay.

How easy was that!?!?! And then, the student sat and worked quietly for 40 minutes. FORTY minutes! That's 10 times as long as he normally works quietly!!! I did help with a few problems, but I never had to redirect his attention or deal with any other complaints!

(I have mixed results using it with Adam - he's VERY strong-willed and not easily distracted. So he calms down while I agree with him and then as soon as I try to get him to do whatever it is he won't do, he cries, screams, or kicks again. I think I need to read more of the book, or keep practicing!)

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