Have you ever counted the number of times you’ve said “no” to your child? When they whine for a cookie before dinner, when they throw their toys around or even when they cry. The temptation to say no is almost irresistible. It just rolls off your tongue and feels like it is the easiest way to get to your point.
But what if there’s a better way to communicate your “no”? Phrases that you could try and connect with your kids which makes them understand. When you have the impulse to say no, here are a few things you can try instead.
Attuning means you let the other person know that you understand their action. This is one of the most powerful steps to interact with your child. Instead of telling them off or saying no, it sends them a message. A message that you are in their shoes and you see things from their perspective. For example, you can try phrases like “ I see what you are trying to do, but I will have to hold a limit, but I do understand where you are coming from.”
Don’t say “no, you cannot hit your sister”
The first reaction you will have when you see your child hitting their baby sister, you’d say “no” right away. But one thing you need to understand is that your child is still young and they do not know how to show affection. So, instead of saying “no”, tell them it is not ok to hit people because it hurts. Let them know that they can tell you with words about how they feel.
Keep communications open.
No matter what age you are, when someone sternly says “no,” your reaction will be to either shut down or push back harder. Both reactions lead to power struggles and resentment, rather than opening a conversation for learning and guiding. So to avoid these, you have to keep your communication open with your child.
Keep your tone neutral
When we say “no” in a harsh or reprimanding way, over time your child will feel that they’ve done something bad. You can try to give them the message that you understand them and believe they have good intentions. In fact, you can still be clear and hold limits with a neutral tone. With a neutral tone, your child will not feel defensive and they will hear you out. For example, let them know that throwing toys seem fun and you get it. But why not try putting the toys nicely so that they don’t break anything in the house.
Young children value reasoning as much as we do, but “no” is lacking in an explanation. If you explain things to your child on the consequences, it helps them to make a better choice. For example, when they hit the dining table with cutlery, explain to them that it is not a toy and they should not do that over the dinner.
So what are your ways of saying “no” to your child? Share your thoughts in the comment below.
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