Talking with your toddler can sometimes be a difficult thing to do. One moment he/she reacts expected, calculated and very nice. The other moment can chaotic, stressful and very unpredictable. Reason for this is that children (like adults) have two brain halves: one for emotions and one for reasoning. For adults it is very easy to override one brain half to ensure that we behave how we want. For children, however, this isn't the case.
With that in mind, you can come up with strategies to better communicate with your child. When they are in an emotional state, they can't use their reasoning brain half. Therefore you should connect with their emotional brain first, before going into reasoning.
Here are 3 tips to help you do so:
- Behavior is driven by emotion, as mentioned. When your child is upset, for example, he/she leaves bed when it is way past bedtime. He or she enters the living room and tells you that they don't want to sleep (Emotions). Your initial response might be to send your child back to bed and tell them that they need sleep (Reasoning). Your child will probably feel unheard and will protest. Instead, you should connect with the emotion first by saying something like "I understand that you don't want to sleep, I sometimes don't like it either. However, when you sleep, you can dream and do anything you want, let's come up with something to dream about and tomorrow you tell me how it was". By doing this, you connect to the emotion, while suggesting the most logical thing to do which is going back to bed.
- Don't use the word "No" too often. When you overuse a word, children will start to filter it out and they won't listen to it any more. When you want your child to stop doing something, body language is the best way to speak. Kneel down next your child, be serious, and explain them what they should do different and why.
- Lead by example: Your child sees you as your role model and will copy your behavior. Be very aware of this. Like mentioned in the previous tip, body language is key, the same goes for setting an example. You can't be smoking and telling your kids not to. The language you are speaking will be overruled by the example you are setting. The better you take care of yourself, the better it will be for your kids.
If you want to learn more about the mind of a toddler and how to better deal with it, I highly recommend the 'Talking to Toddlers' Program.
It is one of the best and will make your, but more importantly, your child's life much better.
I have uploaded one free audio lesson, which you can download underneath:
Check out this great video
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