Sunday, January 22, 2012

Love and Logic ~ The "Uh-oh" Song

Greetings to my Happy New Year's L & L class ~
As I mentioned in class last Thursday morning, here is a detailed description of the "Uh-oh" Song, how to employ it and reasons behind. After reading, please email me with additional questions or challenges implementing with your kiddies.

As a side note, for any of you like Corrie, Jen, Lauren, Celeste with younger ones that are still in the highchair, if child bites you, grabs your hair, you can use "Looks like you need a little crib time." And if he throws his food or keeps purposely dropping his sippy cup or bottle, you can say "Uh-oh", food "All Gone" or maybe just "All Gone" and take food or drink away then baby down from highchair.
So food up and baby down in a calm, nice way! Remember, remove the offending object. Start with food, sippy cup, toy, ball, etc first vs removing the child unless you really need a break. Always good to mention to the child, especially if he or she is having a fit, that he / she can try again later or tomorrow. "You can sit in the highchair for your next meal or snack."

The "Uh-oh" Song is a Powerful technique for setting limits with young children. When children misbehave, parents need something they can do to respond, and the more consistent they are in there 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. It's tone should be devoid of any sarcasm or impatience and almost sung when said 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.

Steps for the "Uh Oh song"
{from pages 74-75 in 'Love and Logic' Magic for Early Childhood ~ Practical Parenting from birth to 6 years old}

1. 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. 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.

3. 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 shut the door and make sure that it stays shut. Turn the lock around. Put a towel on top of the door; wedge it tightly so she isn't strong enough to pull it open. Put a latch on the outside. Whatever is safe and easily done. Remember to stay just outside the door (but no talking through the door:).

4. Say, "Feel free to come out when you're acting sweet " ~ Don't let your child out until she is calm. Some kids need temporarily extended time limits. In fact, 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. 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. 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. ¤

Thank you for reading!

Andrea L Gooldy, M.S. Parent Educator, Parent Coach & Workshop Facilitator Independent Love and Logic Facilitator 'Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun!' Certified Screamfree Parenting Leader 404-932-9393 Check out the latest on my Blog!


  1. I don't agree with locking them in the room if they won't listen. Are there any alternatives that are just as effective?

    1. Absolutely. Instead of locking the child in the room, keep a timer and make it start over every time they come out. Uh oh, should be said again and again every time child comes out.

  2. Can I use the "naughty seat/step" in lieu of a room with the door closed? Also, won't she just play in her room?

    1. She may just play in her room, and that is perfectly fine. This isn't about her, it's about you. She was acting in a way that was driving YOU bonkers, so it's a break for YOU, not for her. Plus, if your relationship is great, she will miss and want to be with you and not be happy about being secluded from you.