Being a parent is not easy. Unfortunately, there’s not a step-by-step guide that you can follow to make sure that you’re doing everything correct. No child is the same, and there’s not a specific description of the “perfect child” because everyone has their own opinion on what that mold that may look like.
One thing that most parents would agree on, though, is that it’s important to keep an open and healthy communication with your child. Here are some exercises that you can keep in mind the next time you are talking with your child.
It’s very important to always stay positive with your child, even in the most stressful of situations. Here are some more positive alternatives to what you may not realize are negative phrases.
“No running”… “Walk, please.”
“Stop hitting”…“Hands to yourself, please.”
“Don’t yell”…“Where’s your quiet voice?”
“Don’t get upset”…“It’s ok that you feel that way, but ____.”
“That’s not yours”…“That belongs to ___, can I get you ___?”
“Don’t say that”…“Please use another word.”
“I can’t hear you”…“Can you please speak a little louder? I didn’t catch that.”
Instead of telling your child what not to do, try telling them what you want them to do. Adding the word “please” in your requests will also set a positive example.
Alternatives to “Calm Down”
In a stressful situation, it’s important to remember that you are your child’s safety net and that when they turn to you, they need to be comforted, not scolded. Instead of telling your child to “calm down,” here are some phrases that you can say to your child to find a better solution.
“Take a deep breath.”
“What can we do to fix the problem?”
“Can you draw it?”
“If you’re feeling upset, you can tell me about it.”
“That sounds frustrating. Let’s find a solution together.”
“I’m here. You are safe.”
“Let me help you.”
“Do you need a hug?”
“It’s scary, but we have a plan.”
“What do you need from me?”
“This feeling will go away.”
“How was school today?” “Fine.” We are all very familiar with this small, daily exchange of words. Try asking your children a more specific question to get their brains thinking and their mouths moving.
“What was the best part of your day today?”
“What was the worst part?”
“Which books did you read today?”
“Did your teacher say anything interesting today?”
“Did you hear any jokes today?”
“What made you feel ___ today?” (happy, sad, confused)
“How did you help someone today?”
“What would you like to forget about from today?”
“Did anyone get into trouble today?”
“What was the hardest part of your day?”
“What did you eat for lunch today?”
“What was your favorite activity at school today?”
Asking specific questions will not only get your child to engage with you, but it will also teach them how to make conversation with other people in the future.
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