Thursday, June 9, 2011
As parents, we think it is so cute when our children first assert their independence and say the word, "no!" But then after a few more times, it gets to be not so cute. My child now is shaking her head back and forth as a "no" and is definitely letting us know what she wants!
Our kids are showing us that they are on their way to being autonomous and that they can decide on what they want to do, or not do. We want our children to learn to be assertive, but also not to defy us either. Power trips with a toddler is not fun. (More on power trips next week) :)
But as parents, we also use the word "no" a lot. As we child proof our homes, we are also beginning to set limits for their safety and use this word to save them from dangerous situations. We also are teaching them right from wrong, how to control their actions (no hitting your friend's face), and learning how to respect the possessions of others (no touching the highly breakable and expensive vase at Grandma's house).
Little toddlers still just don't quite understand how their hitting is not a 'soft touch' and they surely don't understand why they can't touch Grandma's pretty vase.
So as parents, we use the word 'No' a lot. But how do we use it effectively?
Make sure that when you use the word 'no' they know it means to "stop what you are doing now!" and use it when you really need it. If you use it too much, it will go in one ear and out the other and won't mean anything to them. When they hear it, they need to know it is serious. So in other situations when it's not an immediate danger, use the Limit Setting techniques I have posted about here. State the desire, state the limit and GIVE AN ALTERNATIVE.
I hear so many parents say, "that is not a good choice" but then never tell them what the choices (alternatives) are. So make sure you give them those choices of what to do instead.
And for all of those moments when we are trying hard to teach them right from wrong, soft touches and no grabbing. Just keep modeling, modeling, modeling. Remove them from the situation if needed.
Little toddlers are so busy learning the names of objects, what they do, how they are used, what can be touched and not touched, what objects are to be pushed, shoved, thrown, pulled and sat on or jumped on. So much to learn, it can be overwhelming for them sometimes. Definitely something to remember when they are having a meltdown and in the middle of a power struggle. :)