I don’t know if you are aware that I wrote a children’s book last year. It’s about lots of things like flexibility in problem solving and helping/feedback; it’s designed to encourage and sustain creativity in kids (hopefully for the rest of their lives).
One of my friends, Jo, asked me to base the next kid’s book on those limiting words, “I can’t”. I fired off a quick reply to her making a couple of immediate suggestions which she used and got great results with her son. I thought I would share them with you.
What do you do when child says: “I Can’t”…?
1. Really? How do you know you can’t? (causes confusion – get the helpful suggestion in quickly)
2. Show me how you can’t… (they will either surprise themselves by being able to do it, or pretend not to be able – if they do the latter play along – attempt to show them and mess it up yourself to get them laughing – make it into a game – you will soon run out of ‘wrong’ ways to do it and then it’s easy to get them to do it successfully)
3. That’s right, you can’t do it YET…. (make the impossibility temporal) You can add to this by suggesting that they imagine what it will be like when they can… and how they will do it.
4. Don’t stop thinking you can’t until you work out how you can. (This pattern has more than a whiff of Milton Erickson about it)
5. What would Sporticus do? (or whoever their current hero is)
Have a go – it’s fun! (which is, from my perspective, the whole point)