A new strategy

Recently Miss J has been having trouble with our horse riding routine. She's great at getting ready on her own, she loves getting her horse ready and in my opinion, she is most at home when she is riding.

The trouble she has, is getting off.

After a week of full blown tantrums upon dismount, I decided it was time to come up with a new strategy. I also decided it was time to let Miss J have a little bit more responsibility. She is perfectly capable of understanding the reasons why she has to get off her horse and why tantrums over this are not appropriate, just as she is capable of coming up with better ways to manage her emotions.

So we sat down and had a talk. I explained again that her riding time is 30 minutes and the reasons it has to stay at 30 minutes are so she doesn't get tired and hurt herself, so her horse doesn't get tired and hurt himself, so no one gets bored and cranky and because there are other people who deserve a turn as well. We agreed that tantrums are not a good way to deal with feeling disappointed and sad because her turn was over and Miss J seemed keen to change her behaviour.
I suggested that she come up with something she could do after horse riding that she really enjoys so that when she feels sad, she could focus on this instead. We talked about some of her favourite things - toys, a favourite game, the box of colouring in things - and she seemed to grasp the concept pretty well. We agreed to give it a go and Miss J assured me that she knew what she was going to look forward to after riding.

This afternoon we set off for the paddock, all calm and confident and ready to try out this new strategy. The lesson came and went and when it was time to get off Miss J coped like a star. She told me she was sad her lesson was over but she would like to go up to the house please, because she was looking forward to something else now.

Hooray!! Even I was gob smacked at our brilliance.

Back at the house, Miss J disappeared into her room for about half an hour. When she emerged she was dressed in her favourite pink dress with her favourite pink shoes, she had just about every clip she owned stuck to her head somewhere and her arms were swimming with bracelets and beads. She had her 'Saddle Club' bag slung over her shoulder, a pink purse in one hand and a black, sequin, 'night on the town' number clutched in the other. To complete 'the look', her face was completely covered in purple lip glitter.

Miss V, Miss F and I were speechless.

Miss J, however, was not. She skipped over to the door, swung around to face me and announced:

"Come on mum! We're going shopping!"

She was so excited and so certain, I couldn't say no.

Today, we went shopping. Tomorrow, I think our new strategy may need a little refining.


Megan from Imaginif said...

raflmao......I LOVE that child. She's going to give Dame Edna AND Nigella Lawson a run for their money.

I have pulled out (for the dress up box) some groovy woolens from when I was in London. I am sure she is going to love them (well....if she appreciates vintage already). Have to work on the sparklies though because I really love them too and I just hate to share mine.

I wonder if working ion a new saddle blanket (calico and paint) may be the way to keep her occupied for a short time after her 30 mins....or collecting horse manure to sell in order to buy sparkly goodies.

Pencil Writer said...

Just when you think you've got it, kids show you, you don't . . . quite. Love the lessons! Wish I'd been then for the viewing!

Melody said...

Well, I'd like to go horse riding AND then go shopping too! SOunds good.

Alison said...

Megan - We'll have to bring our Dame Edna specks with us! Groovy woolens sound fabulous. If Miss J doesn't like them, I'm sure I will.
This afternoons post riding activity was eating the carrot cupcakes we made earlier. I know, I know - placating children with food is naughty. It worked though. lol.

PW - They are great lessons, for Miss J and for me!

Melody - Yes, as far as Miss J is concerned the strategy is perfect.

PlanningQueen said...

I have such a great image of a pin princess set for some retail therapy. Love the way she thinks.

PreSchool Mama said...

Hilarious! I read the description again to get a perfect mental image of what she must have looked like! And I could also imagine the expression on your face when you looked at her!

Alison said...

PQ - Miss F and Miss V loved her thinking, too. It seems I am the only one not keen on retail therapy. lol

Preschool mama - My expression was no doubt a kodak moment all of it's own!

Mountaingirl said...

What a great mom to sit down and have the conversation rather than just rely on punitive strategies :-) Even better that it worked!

And I so love the choices Miss J makes - she just has to get bonus points for creativity lol