A silent signal is one of the most simple and yet rewarding tools. I started this tool when my oldest son was almost 3-years old. It began when I would get frustrated with him and would raise my voice and get really stern with him.
As most of us know—we always feel horrible and guilty after we’ve raised our voices—knowing that we could’ve handled it better (if only we hadn’t flipped our lids).
I’m always talking about how important it is to model the behavior we expect from our children. Once again—easier said than done. The absolute worst feeling is when I hear my older talking or yelling at his younger brother. It’s ridiculous and embarrassing knowing that he is speaking that way because of how I spoke to him.
After feeling like a horrible Mother, I explained to Greyson that I didn’t want to be a screaming Meany Mommy. I asked him if we could come up with a silent signal to help remind me to take deep breathes and calm down. I went on to share with him that I always wanted to be able to speak to him in the same respectful tone that I expect from him.
Greyson came up with the idea that he would touch his nose to remind me that I needed to calm down and take some deep breaths. I assured him that it was a brilliant signal and then asked him if I could do the same one if and when he wasn’t speaking in a calm tone.
Naturally, it was only a few days later that Greyson had the opportunity to use his silent signal with me; and, of course, it worked like a gem. I immediately stopped to take a few deep breaths, gave him a hug, and then got down to to speak to him at eye level. All the things I should’ve done originally.
Another silent signal we use in our family is putting our hand over our heart. This signal expresses that we’re having a “flash” which means a surge of love in our heart. These are moments of deep gratitude and appreciation for that person. This is a silent signal that I learned from my childhood and I’m delighted to continue this signal with my family today.