Hand Shape: palm will face your body
Location: chest area
Tip: remember “3” is unique, don’t confuse it with “6”
Action: see video for each number

Transcript: This week’s word deals with counting from 1-5, and later (another week) we’ll do 6-10. So for numbers 1-5 you will want to make sure your palm is facing you. Be sure to check back later to see the numbers 6-10. Note: the letter 3 is naturally signed as the number “6”. So pay close attention to how 3’s hand structure is different because you don’t want to be signing, “I’ll give you 6 pieces of candy,” when you really mean 3.

Parent: Help, my child’s hand is not facing the right direction.
Answer: You can: 1. Do nothing or 2. Continue modeling it right or 3. Stop and correct.
SBS: I choose to first focus on getting the hand shape correct (which fingers to hold up). Next I would focus on the palm orientation.

How many times have you been asked, “How old is she?” We tend to respond by encouraging children to answer for themselves, which usually ends up being a hand gesture of a number. How cool would it be if your child knew the proper way to sign numbers? Many times, I find I use number signs with my children when I want to give them a time (You have 10 minutes) or an amount (You get 4).

Interesting fact: Did you know that you could sign any number with just one hand?

Now for my for my story about counting.

Is counting to 5 effective for your child to behave?

Could we be “hurting” our kids with this strategy of counting 1-2-3-4-5 to get kids to obey?
We ask our child to do something. Your child ignores you or complains or argues; then we resort to “You have until the count of five to obey.” During the counting process do you notice your blood pressure going up? Then when you get to 5 and the child does not respond, you repeat yourself again, this time with an “I’m serious…NOW!”

Are you ready and open for a change? Think about it, counting to five teaches children that they really don’t have to listen the first time. But wouldn’t you rather have them obey the first time a request is made? When you count, you take away their responsibility of choosing to obey. You are forcing them to do it, rather than training them to make a choice to obey or not. Hold on, don’t get upset by this statement, let me explain a little more.

Growing up, I remember countless times that the counting began. I didn’t know any other way until in my adult years when I took a class from a Disney dog trainer. His technique involved telling the dog to do a command ONE time. Here is the method: “Dora, sit.” I then wait a moment, and if the dog does not do sit, I’d go over to her and calmly, without repeating the command, have the dog sit followed by a reward of verbal praise. No counting, no anger, no repeating, no exceptions, just say it once and expect the behavior with positive reinforcements. I then thought, “Why can’t we use this for our children?”

How can we apply the dog lesson to work with our children? Make eye contact. Briefly state you’re your expectation in a calm but firm voice, including the consequences if ignored. Here’s an example: “Brian, put your shoes on yourself now; if you don’t then you choose to have me help you.” Or
“Casey, it’s time to turn the game off. If I have to turn it off for you, then no games tomorrow.” Another approach could be, “Casey, it’s time to turn the TV off. As soon as you do it, come and get a hug.”

Our goal as parents is to lovingly, teach our children to be able to make decisions on their own. The personally experience the effects of their decision.

Does this approach work? You bet. I am an example to its effectiveness. As I mentioned earlier, my mother used the “count to 5 approach”, but when my father asked any one of us (there were five kids) to do something, he would ask once. We knew he meant what he said and obeyed right away.
So I guess you could say I learned a lesson from both of my parents. Let’s be all the wiser from our life experiences and think about what we are teaching our children by what we do and say to them.

The more you use this new approach, the more you will notice your child responding without having to be told multiple times and without you having to get frustrated. From this day forward, give yourself the freedom that comes from giving choices rather than the burden of counting to five!

I know this can be a hot topic. I’m curious to your perspective on counting. Are you for it, against it, or neither? Let’s have open discussion below.

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