The "Uh-oh" Song is a Powerful technique for setting limits with young children, typically from 18 months to 5 or 6 years depending on the maturity of the child. When children misbehave, parents need something they can do to respond, and the more consistent they are in their response, the faster it ingrains itself in the child. The "Uh-oh" was created to give parents one catchall response to all attacks on their peace and allows them to respond without anger or threats. Its tone should be devoid of any sarcasm or impatience and almost sung when used to keep any negative emotions out of it. It doesn't take long for even a toddler to get the message that when the "Uh-oh" Song is sung, WHATEVER behavior has just happened was not one Mommy or Daddy approved of and that loving intervention is on it's way. It is usually used in situations of great defiance or total meltdown in response to a situation but can be applied to more minor issues if the parent so chooses.
Steps for the "Uh Oh song" (from pages 74-75 in 'Love and Logic's Magic for Early Childhood ~ Practical Parenting from birth to 6 years old')
Instead of making threats or giving warnings, sing, "Uh-oh" and take action ~ Maybe you'll carry your child into the bedroom and say, "Looks like you need a little bedroom time or private time to pull yourself together." Or "Looks like you need a little crib time or playpen time." Or maybe you'll take away an offending object and say calmly, "All gone!" Whatever action you'll take begins with "Uh-oh!" Why? Because singing this simple song really communicates, "You're such a great kid, and I am such a great parent that I can handle you without yelling, without frowning, and without stressing myself out." Parents also report that singing, "Uh-oh" also helps them stay calm. * Please note: this technique is not for infants and very young children who are crying or acting out because they have a need that must be fulfilled (hungry, diaper needs to be changed, tired so needs nap, doesn't feel well, etc.) When a child has a basic need, meet it instead of punishing or ignoring your child! The "Uh-oh" song is designed to limit children's wants, not deprive them of what they need.
2. LEAD TO ROOM
Gently lead or carry your child to his or her room ~ Make the room safe ahead of time. Wise parents remove anything that they don't want broken. If your child is young the location could be a crib, playpen or high chair.
If a room is the chosen location, give your child a choice about the door: "Do you need the door shut, or open?" If a child comes out before she's ready, then offer a second choice: “Guess you chose shut. Would you like the door shut or locked?” If they don’t choose then shut the door. If they come out again say, “I guess you chose locked.” Lock the door somehow, either using the lock if there is one or put a towel on top of the door; wedge it tightly enough so she can’t pull it open, or, if you’d rather, put a latch on the outside. The idea here is tp do whatever is safe and easily done. Remember to stay just outside the door (but NO talking through the door:).
4. WAIT TILL SWEET
Say, "Feel free to come out when you're acting sweet." ~ Don't let your child out until she is calm, this is typically 3-5 minutes AFTER they have calmed down. Set a timer as soon as your child is calm. Some children, the first few times using this technique, will need to be in the room for more than hour. It's okay to check on child from time to time, but a kid really needs to stay in there until she's ready to behave. Parents using this technique report that the time required begins to shorten very quickly if they remain consistent. Most kids are smart enough to figure out the misbehavior doesn't pay. There may be an extended initial period of adjustment, but that behavior usually starts to fade out rather rapidly - as long as parents don't interact with a child while he or she is in the room. The best way to make this technique backfire is to use too many words.
5. LET THEM OUT
After the post-Calm period your child is ready to be let out of their Uh Oh location. Do NOT lecture or remind when your child is ready to come out. This is the time to give a Big Hug and move on with your day. If your child acts up again in a few minutes, just sing "Uh-oh" and repeat the technique. Some kids require more than one or two trips when they're first learning about "Uh-oh". Don't sweat it. That's normal.
6. GIVE THEM LOVE/BE HAPPY
HAVE FUN with your kids when they're behaving ~ In order for this technique to work, do you think it might be smart to have a lot of fun with your kids when they're behaving? Some kids love to go to their room because it gets them away from a nasty parent.
¤ Be Silly with your kids. Have Fun! Partake in the Joy. Then, when they misbehave, all the fun shuts down. You're not angry and you don't yell, but you are very boring when their behavior turns sour. Teach them that a life of misbehavior is pretty dull. ¤
What’s the Difference Between the UH OH SONG and a TIME OUT?