WRITTEN BY I-YATAH KEISHA, EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR AND OWNER OF KIDTABULOUS
How many times a day do we say the word ‘no’ to our kids? Probably way more than we would like to admit. So how can we turn some of those "no’s" into "yes’s", or at least say no a little less. What’s wrong with saying no so much in the first place? Here are a few tips to help get you on the right track:
1) Don’t Tempt Them
When you tell a child what not to do, instead of hearing what you want them to do, they are reminded of the behavior they shouldn’t be doing, and it is tempting. You know how you want that slice of cake even more when you just started a diet and you know you can’t have it? That is how children can feel when you tell them not to do something. Tell them the behavior you want from them so that they can remember it and deliver it.
2) Don’t Confuse Them
Telling a child what NOT to do instead of what TO DO can be confusing for young children. They have to first process what you are telling them NOT to do, then figure out what that means they SHOULD be doing, then DO it.
If you express clearly and calmly what you want them to do, you’ll probably get better results quicker. Your child will hear exactly what you need from them and can process that message without any extra steps. For example, instead of saying “Don’t colour on the walls (or the table, or the floor, or your sister’s face…) you could try saying, “Use the markers to colour on paper.”
3) Encourage Rather than Discourage
Hearing no all the time is not fun. Children can get discouraged if all they are hearing is "no". Find opportunities to turn some of those "no’s" into "yes’s" so your children can feel encouraged.
For example, instead of “No, we are not having ice cream for dinner” you can try “That sounds yummy! How about I let you choose your favorite flavor and we can have some for dessert?’ Instead of “If your room is not clean, you are not going out to play”, try saying “When your room is clean, you can go play with your friends.”
The more you say yes (or avoid using the word no), the more positive the results, the happier everyone will be!
If you have any questions for I-yatah or any other Curious Neuron contributor, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.