Sandwich Technique

What Is The Sandwich Technique And What Is It Used For?

Bad behaviors in children are often difficult to correct or modify. Assertiveness is a good way to do this, and the sandwich technique can help a lot.

Praise or punishment?

Redirecting inappropriate behavior in children is not easy, it requires patience and perseverance, as well as being assertive. If we had to give the key to success, it would be to discipline with love and let them know exactly what is expected of them. There is nothing more exasperating for parents than a rebellious child who does not want to change her behavior: who hits other children, who constantly disobeys or even puts her safety at risk with her behavior.

A very effective method to eliminate these behaviors is the sandwich technique, a technique that is not based on punishment, but on the power of praise. An amazing change of perspective.

What is the sandwich technique?

The sandwich technique  is based on achieving a change in behavior through constructive criticism . Before sending a negative message to the child, that moment should be softened with a compliment and end with a positive message. Its main objective is to achieve a change in behavior by making children reflect on inappropriate behavior. It is a method that favors listening and receptivity in children so that they can change their behavior, while  strengthening children’s self-esteem, helping them make decisions and facilitating communication between parents and children.  It encourages them to make decisions and gives them responsibility for their actions; it is a true feedback technique. Through this technique, parents can also let their children know what they expect of them and teach them to be better people.

The sandwich technique receives this name because it consists of making a constructive criticism applying “several layers”:

  • A sincere compliment to soften the situation. Before letting the child know the need for a change in behavior, start with a short and sincere praise that the child can understand. For example: “You know that I love you very much”, “you have many friends…”. You should not fall into a long explanation because that distorts the message.
  • Request and explanation what behavior change is necessary. After the praise, it is the ideal time to raise the need for him to change his attitude or behavior. To do this, wait a few seconds and add a “but”… Then you send him the wish of what you need regarding his behavior: “You already know that you play soccer very well, but… I need you to change and stop playing football.” kicking other children…” After making your request, you should explain why: “I need you to change and stop kicking other children because when you do, you hurt them”… And then you tell them what we need him to do: “I would like you to stop doing that from now on”… And the change is explained: “… you can’t play so rough because the children get sad if you hurt them and they won’t want to play with you”.
  • Thank you and positive message. It should always end with a positive message, for this reason, after asking for a change in behavior, it should end by thanking something, using the “although”: “Although I would really appreciate it if whenever you feel angry, you tell me and we look for a solution together, okay? At this point, you can ask him what he thinks about it or simply let him reflect on what he has been told.

From what age can it be applied?

Psychologists recommend  starting to apply this technique from the age of five and choosing the moment to use it well. The child should be minimally calm and receptive. If he is very angry, nervous or tired, it is quite likely that he will ignore it. On the other hand, it must be used sparingly: if we abuse it, it will lose all its meaning and the child will associate praise as the anticipation of a scolding or reproach.

It is also important to set clear limits against intolerable behavior. Before them, we can validate their emotions and why they feel that way, but not accept the behavior or action.

When should this technique be applied?

The sandwich technique can be applied on many occasions, but the ideal is to take the opportunity to communicate with the child after having had the behavior that you want to eliminate , so that he is fully aware of what he has done.

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