Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Instead of...

The univeristy where I earned my early childhood education degree gave me a lot of insight on how to work with children in a positive way. You do what you know until you learn otherwise. Here are some techniques to use different words when talking to children.

Instead of "noise," I use "sounds"
When I child is banging on something that sounds like noise, I think its better to say "I hear you making lots of sounds." The word "noise" just sounds negative. Try it.

Instead of "okay," I use "Do you understand or can you repeat what we are doing now?"
This was a hard habit to break. I think it's just part of how our society talks. Example, "We are going to eat supper now, okay?" Well, is it really okay to ask the child what we are doing now? That leaves it open for them to say "no." Instead it is better to say, "We are going to eat supper now, do you understand?" I think we say "okay" because we want to know if they understand what's going on next or what we want them to do. This way you are asking about understanding instead of about eating.

Instead of "no", I use "stop"
I always try to tell children what I want them to do, instead of what they can't do. But there are times they need to stop what they are doing. I use "stop" and often the sign for it, so I can do it from across the room without using the words. "No" just doesn't really produce too many results.

Instead of "stinky," I use "dirty or smelly"
This goes for little ones with diapers, normally. I use "dirty" or "smelly" because stinky just seems too negative. Oh, and never get mad for a child for having a dirty diaper. It's not their fault.

Instead of "look at me," I use "show me your eyes"
I learned this one from my dance teacher when I was 16 years old. I loved how she would get the attention of the little 3-year-olds by saying "Show me your eyes." They would look right at her, and they didn't realize she was trying to get them to pay attention. "Look at me" can be a little demanding. Also, on that note, some children don't need to look at you all the time. Just because they aren't looking at you doesn't mean they don't hear you. Good example is when you are disciplining a child. They are already feeling shame or should be, so whether they look at you doesn't make any difference. Remember every child is different, too.

Give it a chance. You will notice a difference in how you approach them and how they react.

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