Parenting a preschooler or toddler can often lead to frustration for both you and your child as they learn more about the world around them. As they try to determine the appropriate responses and words for their feelings, it’s easy to let frustration take over when things don’t go your way. And, let’s face it, some days they won’t!
Using positive communication with toddlers and young children has proven to be much more useful than negative phrases, time and time again. Not only will children respond better, but your overall relationship with your child will also feel less stressful, making everyone involved a lot happier in the long run.
Breaking the Cycle of No
Parenting experts believe that the overuse of the word “no” can breed resentment and rebellion in the future. Plus, saying the same thing often desensitizes the meaning. By using it frequently, your toddler or preschooler tends to tune you out anyway — or worse, begins to say “no!” to everything you ask them! At that point, you’ll both be emotionally drained and frustrated. A no-win situation for everyone involved.
So, what can you do to start parenting with less “no’s,” starting today? We’ve compiled three tried and true responses that you can swap in and add to your parenting arsenal immediately. You’ll also find that these are the strategies our teachers frequently turn to when working with toddlers and preschoolers.
“Use Your Words Instead of Your Hands!”
The age-old debate on discipline versus punishment. But what are the differences between each stance, and what is best for your children? Discipline is defined as “training someone to uphold rules or a certain code of behavior,” while punishment means to “inflict a penalty on someone for an offense.”
By teaching toddlers to behave appropriately through words and actions, we can equip them to act appropriately in the long-term. For example, if your preschooler is hitting, trying a similar phrase allows your child to understand what behavior is not accepted and, alternatively, what behavior or action is expected.
“I Was Watching You , and You Were So !”
You can fill in the blanks with whatever positive actions you are hoping to see more of from your toddler by praising the appropriate behavior. For instance, you can say something like, “I was watching you share your toys with your brother, and you were so kind!”
When you catch your child doing something right and then praise them for it, you’ll encourage more of the behaviors you desire. Plus, you’ll also cut down on adverse reactions throughout the day. Kids love to please us and receive encouragement, so by providing positive reinforcement for making good choices, you’ll likely see more fruitful results than punishment for bad behaviors.
“It’s Okay To…”
One of the most important things that you can do as a parent of a toddler is providing the words they need for the complex emotions they feel while allowing them the space to explore them. For instance, you can say, “It’s okay to miss me when I drop you off at school, but I’ll always come back to get you after nap time.”
Reassuring them that missing mommy or daddy is natural can go a long way to make your child feel secure, loved, and heard. This lets them know that it’s okay to be sad while giving them an expectation for when you’ll return.
Staying positive while parenting your child, no matter their age, will go a long way to produce a loving, thoughtful, and respectful adult. Plus, you’ll find that it will also allow you a closer bond with your child. You’ll be less stressed, and they will feed off of that positive energy.
Finding a safe space where you feel comfortable leaving your child every day can be difficult, and there are so many factors that you can (and should!) consider. Here at The Breakie Bunch Learning Center, we strive to provide a positive environment that’s a home away from home for you and your child. Reach out to us directly with any questions, and we’ll be happy to provide even more positive communication strategies that can benefit you and your child!