When I think of the word “spring” it’s almost always followed by the word “cleaning” in my mind. And while my home sure could use a good spring cleaning, what I’ve found really needs an overhaul is my mommy vocabulary. What I mean by “mommy vocabulary” is the words I use around my daughter and how I speak to her.
My daughter Lucy is almost 17 months-old and is turning into quite the loquacious little girl with lots of spunk and fun personality. Her favorite word right now is “puppy”- I hear it all day long! Her second favorite word is “no.” She’s really mastered it, too. She shakes her head back and forth when she says it. Sometimes she even throws up a hand or two in front of her for emphasis. She’s very good at communicating!
My background is in education- I taught special education (specifically students who are blind or visually impaired) before I became Mommy. One of the most important things I taught my students was how to make choices, and that their choices matter. How do you do that? By simply giving them choices!
As an illustration, read these two scenarios where a mom is asking her child what they want to drink.
Mom: “What would you like to drink with lunch?”
Child: “Hot chocolate!”
Mom: “No, I don’t want you to have that. What about some water?”
Child: “No!! I want hot chocolate!!!”
Mom: “Would you like to drink with lunch- milk or water?”
Mom: “Ok, I’ll get you some milk.”
In both scenarios the child made a choice. But in the first one that choice was negated. When we give our kids open-ended choices what often happens is that we end up telling them that their choice doesn’t matter, or was wrong, and impose our will anyway. (“What shirt do you want to wear?” “What do you want for lunch?”) By instead offering a selection of choices that would be acceptable to you, you’re setting your child up for success and teaching them that their choices matter. (“Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?” “Would you like chicken or pasta for lunch?”)
I know all this, I’ve been taught it, and I’ve implemented it in the classroom; but somewhere along the way it never got translated into my Mommy Vocabulary. For example, this morning I asked my daughter “Want to go change your diaper?” to which she firmly responded “No!!” with lots of head shaking. Oops. I should have just said “We’re going to go change your diaper.” Rather than phrasing it as a question, I should have phrased it as a statement instead. My intention was not to offer her a choice about diaper changes, but to tell her what we were about to do.
Often we’re so careful about the way we speak to other adults, but forget to choose our words carefully around our children as well. I’m going to make a more conscious effort to offer specific choices to my daughter, while also not turning statements into questions.
Would you join me? Try it for just one week and then let me know how it goes! Do you feel like your communication has improved with your children? Do they enjoy making choices and not being negated instead? Is there something you did that really worked? I’d love to know and share it with my readers! Comment below!
This post is part of a blog hop from Blogs & Business: Moms Who Do It All. Check out some of the other awesome blogs participating:
Daily Momtivity | The Art of Better Blogging | The Jessie K | Fighting for Fitness | Building Butterflies | Forty by Forty Fitness | A Kreative Whim | Women Winning Online | Hometown Betty | Champagne and Cheerios | B is for Bookworm | Aileen Cooks | A Cotton Kandi Life | Beyond Mommying | Home Maid Simple | Tot Tot Goose | Thrifty Guardian | Diary of a New Mommy | Mrs and Momma | Blue Eyed Babies | The Little Tourist | From Designer to Diapers | Mommy, Memories and Mouse Ears | Redmond Kids | Cheer and Cherry