I am a frequent user of the “Undo” (Ctrl + Z) and “Re-do” (Ctrl + Y) functions on a computer. When typing I don’t always get it right the first time and have to try it again when I make mistakes. Sometimes I wish that there was a short cut like Ctrl + Z in real life! However when words are said or things are broken they aren’t easily fixed like when typing. While we can’t go back in time to change what has already been done in the real world we can try again and do better next time and learn from our mistakes.
Karyn Purvis, David Cross and Wendy Sunshine explain in the book The Connected Child the concept of using re-do’s with children from hard places, and state that “re-do’s give children a chance to practice a new behavior in a fun and playful way while building self-esteem through success.” A re-do replaces an inappropriate behavior with an appropriate behavior and instead of punishing or reprimanding a child it allows a child to try again while being taught and encouraged.
The Redo Roo is a children’s book written by Cindy Lee, which incorporates the Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) strategy of using re-do’s. The Redo Roo is a story about a kangaroo that has a lot of energy. Kangaroo likes to play outside where he can jump, climb, spin and be as loud as he wants. However, when Kangaroo goes to school and he is not able to play so freely he struggles to contain his energy and ends up getting in trouble. Kangaroo, like many young children in schools today, struggles to sit in his seat and focus. Lee writes, “So much energy, he needs to wiggle. He needs to talk and needs to giggle.” Kangaroo’s teacher and parents come up with a plan to use re-do’s instead of time-outs to help him learn appropriate behaviors for school. The next time Kangaroo talks out of turn in class his teacher asks him to try it again by raising his hand. Kangaroo is supported and taught how to self-regulate and given praise and high-fives for his successes. At the end of the book Kangaroo says, “You can call me the Redo Roo. A redo’s what I like to do!” After reading this story follow up by asking questions about the story such as: “What was your favorite part of the story?” “Did you learn anything new?” “Why do you think Roo got into trouble?” and “How did Roo learn how to behave in school?” This inspirational and relatable story can prompt great discussions with your child about behavior and how to learn by using re-do’s.
Here are ten tips for effective Re-dos as taught through Trust-Based Relational Intervention model (TBRI®):
- Be consistent – Work on a couple behaviors at a time and request a re-do every time. As a child becomes proficient on a behavior start working on new behaviors. There may be resistance in the beginning but once they get the hang of it a re-do should become a quick and easy fix, like pressing pause in the middle of a conversation to quickly correct a behavior.
- Connection must come before correction – TBRI® explains that parents cannot influence their children to correct behavior until they have a connection with them. The better connection you have with your child the better they will respond to correction.
- Respond immediately – To request a re-do Purvis and Cross recommend responding within 3-5 seconds of the behavior, if possible.
- Stay calm– Use a calm and friendly tone of voice and body posture. Try to keep the interaction playful. Get down to your child’s level and keep eye contact. If faced with resistance parents can respond in a firmer voice without being scary. If a child becomes dysregulated an adult will need to help them to calm down before the child can attempt a re-do.
- Don’t lecture – Children learn best when parents speak to them at their level. Keep re-do’s short and sweet, and use life value terms as reminders.
- Use a team approach – Parents should encourage their child that they are in it together, like a team. Parents should be helpful and supportive.
- Practice – Keep at it until they get it right. Model appropriate behavior if needed. Also incorporate re-do’s into role plays and pretend play to practice intermittently.
- Be patient –Learning a new behavior takes time.
- Praise – Give your child praise for a job well done! High-fives work great too!
- Move on – Afterwards press play, continue with daily activities like normal.
Re-do’s are a very effective tool to help your child learn new behaviors, especially manners and respect. It may take a little getting used to in the beginning but once they understand they will start to correct their own behavior. Sometimes all I have to do is give my child a raised eyebrow or sideward glance and they correct themselves. To learn more about TBRI® and Re-do’s read The Connected Child or attend an Empowered to Connect Conference.