*** Toddlers hear the word NO! on average 300 times – have you heard this statistic? Today I am welcoming Sam from Love Parenting with a guest post on creating a YES environment for our children!***
We get so frustrated when our children shout “No” at us, or refuse to follow important directions, but perhaps instead of looking outwardly at their behaviour, we should instead evaluate our own reactions.
When we get in to the habit of telling our children “No” it becomes almost an automatic response.
“Can I have…..” “No”
“Can we go…..” “No”
“Will you read….” “Wait”
This extends outward so then its not just our standard answer when our children ask something of us, but its also the first thing we think when they are exploring and experimenting too.
They climb on a chair – “No, get down!”
They pick up an ornament – “No, put it down!”
Its hardly a surprise that this becomes their automatic response to any requests we might make.
So how can we change this habit to create a yes environment?
Create a safe home environment and let your child explore it.
Bumps and falls are an important learning experience in every childhood and you cant (and shouldn’t) try to prevent every scrape. But what you can do, is remove the real hazards and dangers, especially those which are not an obvious danger, such as the electricity supply or chemicals. Cover them up, lock them away and remove anything you don’t want to be played with. Then try to hold your tongue.
My toddler LOVES to climb and I have watched him climb in to what looks like very precarious positions. Up on to the arms of rocking chairs, table tops and even the window sills. It used to make my palms sweat, and the urge to interfere was huge, but I stopped myself. And in doing this I found that the majority of the time, he could quite easily find the best route down, safely and without my help. When he couldn’t, he would make it clear that
he wanted some help and I would show him or assist him as much as he needed (but not more!) and he would usually remember the route for the next time.
Occasionally, although not very often, he would stumble and fall, but he quickly picked himself up and tried again. From my backing off, he gained so many skills which he would have otherwise missed out on.
Childhood is precious and before you know it your children will be all grown up. Enjoy it while it lasts. Instead of reacting to their requests with an automatic “No”, consider why you are saying it.
Is there a way of changing it in to a yes? Could you free up 20 minutes to paint
with your child? Could you stop what you are doing for 5 minutes to read a story with him?
Could you head out to the beach when you know it would mean the world to them?
Could you really listen to what they are asking , rather than giving them a robotic “No” or a “We’ll see…” (probably the most frustrating thing a child can hear!)
Most of the time when a child is bombarding a parent with one request after another, what they are really asking for is simply your time and attention. They want you to notice them, be with them and play with them.
A common concern I hear when explaining this, is that the parent stops making dinner to read a story or two, but the child still wants more. One solution I give is why not satisfy their need for your attention, along with your need to finish what you are doing by including them in making the meal? This works for all age groups –
– Babies can be worn in a sling while you work.
– Ask toddlers to pass you things from the fridge or cupboards or to put things away
– Pre schoolers can wash and chop vegetables, source and stir in ingredients, knead dough, get everyone a drink and on and on….
– As they get older, children can peel vegetables, use a pestle and mortar, wash the pots, set the table and have some creative input in to the meal plans.
So when you go to give that automatic “No”, think about why you are saying it, and perhaps that “No” might just become a YES after all.
You can find Sam over at Love Parenting, a site dedicated to providing inspiration and information to people wanting to find more peace within their parenting, uncover their passions and grasp life by the horns! Sam writes one or two articles every week that focus on natural and attachment parenting, non conformity and living like your really mean it amongst other subjects.