Written by Dr. John Carosso
How it all began
Many years ago, starting out as a Psychologist, I came across a Principal who established a ritual with his teachers. At the conclusion of every morning meeting, he would huddle the teachers together and lead a chant “softer and closer” repeated four to five times, before sending the teachers off to their students.
Repeat after me…
I am hard pressed to contemplate a more significant or relevant mantra for teachers or parents. I have espoused the “softer and closer” approach since that time, and can think of no better way to connect with a child. Getting on the child’s level, moving-in close, and speaking in a soft tone, if not a whisper, is remarkably powerful, comforting, and bonding for a child in any situation, but especially when the child is experiencing a difficulty and needs supportive guidance.
Go get softer and closer
Try it with your own child; rather than standing across the room and yelling, get close, soft, and comforting in tone, and see the difference.
I’ve also espoused time-in rather than time-out. Of course, the latter is necessary at times, but far too often we neglect trying the former. Try it, the softer and closer approach, and see the difference.