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Focused? Defocus and Refocus

Source: bigwavephoto / Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever had difficulty trying to get your child to do something? There can be a myriad of reasons why he does not cooperate. In my previous post, I shared about how I used the LEAP routine to get my boy out of the house and on the way to school. Today, I faced a similar difficulty but the reason for refusal was different.

Scenario: I had already gotten my son to promise to turn off the TV and to go to school at the end of a programme and he did it. However, he saw a gym mat that he had fond memories playing with and he wanted to play with it. He was distracted!

He was distracted!


You see, the reason for his refusal today wasn’t because he didn’t want to go to school, but because he was distracted (or rather he was focused on something else – playing with the gym mat). He wanted to hide under the gym mat!

Noticing that, I realised I need to help him refocus – on leaving the house. But to get there, I’ll need to help him defocus first.


To help him defocus, I needed to enter his world, speak and act in his terms, so that I could then bring him into my world.

So I put my things aside, sat down with him, opened up the gym mat and got ready to play him. Donning excitement and my voice and actions, I showed him that I was in the moment with him.


Before I actually got down to playing with him, I needed to hint at the refocusing. So I said “after we play hiding, we’ll keep and go to school ok?”

“Ok” he said.

So I helped him arrange the mat, got him to hide under then pretended that I could not see him. He was elated! His bucket was full and he was ready to go to school.

Sure enough, when I finally “found” him, he was ready to keep the mat and go off without any resistance.

The whole process only incurred a delay of 5 minutes. 2 things I took away from this were:

  1. Time was necessary. I’ll share some thoughts about this in a future post.
  2. We need to discern the reason for his resistance. Sometimes, asking how he is feeling can help with that, like what I did with the LEAP routine. But in this case, it wasn’t necessary, since I knew he was just focused on something else.

2 thoughts on “Focused? Defocus and Refocus

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