Parenting is one of the most rewarding and most challenging jobs I’ve ever had. As a parent/educator, one of the most important things that I’ve tried to be consistent with is using positive communication and following through with what I tell my own children as well as the children I teach. Before I had my own children, I used to think that positive communication should be a “given” and easy to practice on a day-to-day basis. However, having my own children made me quickly realize that parenting is a learning process and some days are simply easier/harder than others. We’ve all had the day when you’ve hit the snooze one too many times and now you are running around the house trying to get lunches ready for school and children dressed all while trying to get yourself ready. Bottom line, try to realize you are only human and try to have some humor in your day because “this too shall pass”. I have put together a list of “Say this/ Instead of this” language to help (maybe) make parenting a bit easier for you. In addition to these phrases, giving children choices is also a great option because it makes children feel like they have control (even though, you, as the parent, has come up with the acceptable options). Acceptable choices may be as follows: “Meghan, you have a choice. You may clean your room now or after we eat dinner.” By giving this choice, you are still making room cleaning a priority but you are giving your child the choice of when they can do it. If a child is protesting hand washing, you might say, “it’s time to wash your hands. You may wash them in the kitchen or the bathroom.” Try not to phrase the options as a question because that gives the child the option of saying “no”. Believe me, I am guilty of this as a parent and educator. My coworkers and I catch each other phrasing choices as a question sometimes and we laugh about it and learn from it!
Say this: Instead of this:
“Walk please” “Stop running”
“Use quiet voices inside please” “Stop yelling”
“You may yell when we go outside” “stop yelling”
“Please use gentle hands” “Don’t hit”
“You may spit in the sink after “Stop spitting”
you brush your teeth”
“Look with your eyes” “Don’t touch that vase”
“Please use your words to tell “Stop hitting your sister”
Meghan that you don’t like that”
“We draw on paper” “Don’t draw on the table”
“We build with blocks” “Don’t throw the blocks”
“Keep your feet on the floor please” “Don’t climb on the table”
“Keep you shoes on your feet please” “Stop taking your shoes off”
Blog post written by Katie Wood, RBT. Katie is an amazing mom, ABA therapist, and our preschool group teacher!