The owners of Primrose Schools know how important it is to teach children — and they also know that it’s not always easy to know exactly what a child is trying to tell us. That’s why parents and adults can use different ways to get children to express themselves and offer clues and words that help us better understand what they really mean.
A recent article in the Pointers for Parents newsletter from Primrose offered the following advice and tips when interacting with children:
- Stays close by your side. New situations make young children feel anxious or unsure, so they tend to cling to their parents as a source of security and comfort. They are letting you know they need to go slow. Remember that it’s not a bad thing for a child to be cautious. Help your child verbalize his feelings and don’t push him beyond his comfort zone. Making frequent visits to a new place or seeing the same people on multiple occasions are the best ways to alleviate his fears. As a person or place becomes more familiar, you’ll most likely see a difference in your child’s reaction.
- Getting dressed. Children often resist wearing the clothes you pick out for them. When this happens, they may be trying to say, “Hey, don’t I get some say?” Picking out their own clothes is one step toward independence. To avoid battles in the morning, ask your child to pick out what she wants to wear the night before. Make this part of your nighttime ritual and save valuable time the next day.
- Demanding orders. Our little ones need to hear the magic words “please” and “thank you” consistently long before they speak the words themselves. If they always hear you including them in your interactions with others, they will be far more likely to use them when they are able. If your child forgets and demands his snack, acknowledge that you understand he is hungry along with a gentle reminder to say “please.” This response will go a long way toward teaching him about manners and respect. Don’t forget to say thank you when you see he has waited patiently!
These are valuable tips that will make it easier to understand how your child feels and what he or she is really trying to say. Knowing how to listen attentively and react positively can make a huge difference in your child’s development.
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