Recurring problem solving in practice

Shortly after reading the method for problem solving, at the end of Chapter 3 of How to talk so kids will listen, I decided to put this method in practice with Leon, 3 years, who was waking up his little brother Anatole every morning, to play with him a bit, then leave him in his cot crying, waking us as well…

We first talked about the situation, discussing the reasons for waking up his brother, and then why it bothered us. After that, begot a piece of paper to jot down any ideas of things he could do in the morning. Paper is in French, so you refer to the list in English…


Go in the living room and stay in the living room
Stay in the room
Prepare quiet activities in the evening
Prepare a small box / a small bag of cereals
Not return in the room
Play with Anatole gently
Having a notebook to write in
Build tracks with Anatole
Pool – not in the morning. Park either
Leave the room tiptoeing
Build tracks alone
We can’t go to the Park in the morning
We can’t go in the elevator alone

Then, we took these ideas, and many others, and we organized them in 2 categories:

What we have the right to do the morning alone


Eat cereal
Do Legos
Play forms
Make words with models
Turning lights on in the living room
Relax on the couch
Play with the train tracks
Make the ribbon snake
Look at books

What we can not do the morning alone


Get the chocolate
Go back to the room
Turn lights on in the room
Go on the balcony
Go in the elevator
Relax in the room
Go get your teddie bear
Take the pieces of the red box
Open the door of mum and dad’s room
Wake up Oscar, or Alice, or Jessi (our au pair)

And as a conclusion:

When Anatole is awake, we may

Go get your teddie bear, and your pillow, and your 2 bed sheets resolution-4

Go in your room

Well, it’s been very effective: the very next day, he stopped waking Anatole, and so for several weeks.

(In this chapter, a crucial step is missing, which is checking the issue again some time later, to discuss changing things, notice what still works or doesn’t.
This step is specified in the detailed presentation of the method in the book for teenagers.  The step I struggle to follow is this one. So we went through periods of « relapse », but that’s it. On this point in any case, the problem is now solved, Leon doesn’t wake Anatole anymore, and we sleep better in the morning!)

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