- Leave it at the Door
Imagine this scenario: A little girl in pigtails comes bouncing into school, a smile on her face, lunchbox in hand.
Mom: “Poor little Jane had an awful morning. She slept terribly, cried about putting her shoes on, and fell and scraped her knee on the way to the car. Good luck with her today.”
The little girl is no longer smiling. Clearly….
Children generally move on quickly. While all of the events of a rough morning are likely still swimming around in your head, the child has likely moved on. Even if she hasn’t, why not give her a fresh start when she gets to school (or to a friend’s house, or wherever you’re going).
This could also be broadened to say avoid talking about your child like she’s not there – she is always listening.
If you need to tell a teacher or another adult about something going on with your child, leave a note! This way the relevant information is passed along and the child doesn’t hear the reminder that she’s probably in a bad mood and may be a pain to be around today. Yikes.
- Avoid Saying “No”
This isn’t what it sounds like – this does NOT mean let your child do whatever they want. It’s just that children, especially toddlers and very young children, are sensitive to the fact that they are constantly told “no”.
There are ways you can rephrase what you’re saying to avoid directly telling them no and triggering a power struggle. Examples:
Child: “Can I have a piece of candy?”
Parent: “Yes, this evening, after we eat dinner.” (Or, “Mmm, I like candy too, I wish we could eat it every day! Candy is a special treat. We’ll have some in a few weeks on Halloween.”)
Child at the store: “Can I have this toy? And this toy? And that toy?”
Parent: “Ooo, that looks like a fun one! I’m going to take picture of it so I remember it when you have a birthday.” (or write a note – children love seeing you write notes, it shows them what they’re saying is important to you). This trick is from my friend Natalie and I love it and definitely plan to use it!
Child: “Can I go play outside?”
Parent: “Yes. As soon as we’re done cleaning your room, you may play outside.”
Even though he’s only 8 months, I try to practice this way of talking with James because I think a big part of it is habit. When he tries to roll away while I’m changing his diaper, I say “You may roll / crawl as soon as we’re done with your diaper”. It may not make any difference to him yet, but I think it’s helping me remember to practice this skill. I try to save “no” or “stop” for things that are unsafe so the words have more impact.
Do you use anything you’ve learned at work in your home?
Originally published on Montesori-ish Mom. Christina is a Montessori teacher, wife, and mum to one pretty awesome little boy, living in Austin, Texas. She writes about all things motherhood, Montessori, and everyday life.