It is difficult to not say “no” to a toddler who is starting to explore around the house. Trash can digging, “no!”; trying to open cabinets with cleaning chemicals inside, “no!”; pushing himself back near a sharp corner, “no!”; reaching for the cable box and trying to pull it from the cables, “no!”; you get it.
My first reaction is to say no, but as soon as I find myself almost pronouncing the negative word, I try to alternate to pull his attention with something attractive to him, like the sound of a toy, playing run and hide, hold him and taking him to the living room where he can play safely… I just don’t want to find myself saying “no” all the time!
Today, I run across a comment in a Montessori group I follow on facebook and I think that the author, Isabel Moralexo, is right, so I will share it with you. It talks about the importance of language when addressing a toddler to educate him in the learning curve of consequences, without punishments or gifts and trying to avoid the “no” word. Read and if you find them useful, use them.
- To get out of the house: “I need you to… (leave your toy there, put on your shoes…)
- When we eat: “We must… (be seated, wear the bib…)
- When he kicks, hits or bites: “I like caresses” (and I give him one), “I like kisses” (and I give him one), “I like hugs” (and I proceed); “Kicks are for the water, to swim, to kick the ball”.
- Climb to where it’s not safe: I inform him about the function of that piece of furniture “The drawer is meant to keep things, the table is meant for eating” and I kindly ask him to come back down.
- For when he answers “No!”, if it’s for his own safety, I correct the situation, otherwise if he is not obedient, I say: “Ok, let’s do this (what I needed him to do) and then something fun.
- To wait and build his patience “When we are patient and we wait, fun things happen, like (a tickle attack… or the thing that he was waiting for).
- His safety: The knife, the car…”It’s dangerous, it can hurt you very badly” “look, you can fall” (but I usually don’t avoid the fall if it is insignificant).
- Decisions: if possible, I try to make him choose between two things like books, clothes, games, etc.
- Education: everything goes along with a “please, thank you, excuse me, I will appreciate…”, when he says thank you voluntarily, I feel all the effort is worth it.
- Reaction to avoid the “Very well! or very good!” I check out the process, the effort and my feeling about that action. “Can we try…? You did it!”
- Team work: asking for help we say: “Team work!” and we do it both.
Hope you find this handy!