What You Say Matters!
Happy Friday Families!
It's been a beautiful week full of sunshine and hopefully tons of smiles! It's been a while since we chatted about all things "Mommy and Me". So, I thought it would be great to jump back in with an article about healthy and effective ways to communicate with your little when they are experiencing hardship: tantrums, tears, discovering independence, how they speak to others, and learning something new. We'll discuss language that can be swapped out for old language that we have been programmed to hear/use since we were growing up. Your littles are sponges and though you may often think they aren't listening, they take in and hear EVERYTHING you say. What you say really does matter.
Alternatives During Tantrums:
Replace "Calm down." with "How can I help you?"
Replace "Stop crying." with "I can see this is hard for you." or "It's okay to cry."
Replace "You're okay." with "Are you okay?" or "How are you feeling?"
Replace "Be quiet." with "Can you use a softer voice?"
Replace "Don't hit." with "Please be gentle."
Replace "Stop Yelling." with "Take a deep breath, then tell me what happened."
Replace "Don't get upset." with "It's ok to feel sad."
Replace "That's enough." with "Do you need a hug?"
Replace "I'm over this." with "I'm here for you."
Replacing a command with a question or a phrase creates space for your little to experience the range of their emotions. This will foster healthy emotional responses in the future. It is okay to feel frustrated and unsure what to say or do when your little is upset. It may seem taxing at first, but the more you work with your little on effective communication, the easier it will come.
Alternatives When Learning Something New/Playing Independently:
Replace "What a mess!" with "It looks like you had fun! How can we clean up?"
Replace "Do you need help?" with "I'm here to help if you need me."
Replace "I explained how to do this yesterday." with "Maybe I can show you another way."
Replace "Do I need to separate you?" with "Could you use a break?"
Replace "Do you have any questions?" with "What questions do you have?"
Replace "It's not that hard." with "You can do hard things."
Replace "We don't talk like that." with "Please use kind words."
It is important to get specific with your little when you are practicing better ways to communicate and also making them aware that they are capable. Learning new things can feel overwhelming to your little and they may get more frustrated as they try to figure it out. Create a space for them that feels safe to make mistakes. Allow them to take time to perfect this new skill.
It's also very important to make your child feel that their emotions are all part of who they are. They should feel validated in them, but also learn skills with how to cope with them. It's okay to be sad, angry, confused, etc. Letting your little know you are there for them or that they are being heard is very important. Other ways to help them feel validated is using phrases like, "I'll help you work it out," "It doesn't feel fair," "That was really scary," or "Tell me all about it."
As always, I hope you find this helpful and that strengthening communication skills empowers not only your little, but you as well!
Your Voice Should Be Heard