“Do you have a Talking Stick?” she asked me.
My first instinct was panic. Should I have a talking stick? Is it wrong to have talking stick? Oh my…what is a talking stick?
Bubs’ speech pathologist could sense my confusion and immediately put my mind at ease stating that she would explain.
To begin, Miss W folded a piece of a paper long ways several times to form a stick. Then she wrote the words “Talking Stick” on it. She explained that the only time a person can talk is when the stick is in their hand. We were instructed to go home and give it a try.
At dinner time that night I explained the rules and allowed Bubs to start. Thinking it would be easy with the visual clue, Bubs began talking. Within seconds he got interrupted. The intruder was reminded of the rules and Bubs continued talking. It happened again. And again. And again.
I was shocked. I knew that patience was not a strong characteristic but I didn’t realize it was this bad. I really thought we respected each other better and as a family waited our turn to speak.
Needless to say, we needed a talking stick in our home!
I also learned that we weren’t ready for the talking stick at supper. Training needed to occur in a more controlled atmosphere.
The next evening we sat down in the living room for a family meeting. Everyone sat criss-cross in a circle on the floor. I restarted the training and explained how the training stick worked.
I want to introduce you to a new tool that we are going to use in our home. It is called the Talking Stick and it is going to help us respect each other and remember when we can and can not talk. The rules are very simple. If you are holding the Talking Stick, you may talk. If you are not holding the Talking Stick, you must be patient, listen to the person talking, and wait to share your thoughts. To practice, we are each going to say one word when holding the Talking Stick. Let’s all share what our favorite food is.
We took turns sharing our favorite foods and passing around the Talking Stick. Because I turned the activity into a game, the kiddos didn’t even realize that they were learning! When this was mastered, we moved to more words and then sentences. Slowly but surely progress has been made and we are learning to respect each other while talking.
It has been a few months since we introduced this technique. Periodically I will hear my husband say, “Where is the Talking Stick? We need to bring it back out.” It is still a work in progress but having the visual cue has been very helpful.
So, I ask you. Do you have a Talking Stick?
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