Friday, January 4, 2019

Tip # 9 The Art of Using Language

Giving structured choices
Sometimes our children want what they want when they want it.  By offering a choice,
they may decide that what they are being offered is better than what they want.
“Brittany likes to get dressed herself for Kindergarten but she often makes poor choices -
wearing shorts when it’s 30 degrees out!  I don’t want to discourage her from being
independent, but how do I get her to choose wisely?”
“Dylan won’t sit with us at the dinner table - help!”
Here are two example where parents and children have a difference of opinion!  
Try offering choices: “Brittany, let’s check to see what the weather's like tomorrow and
then we can go see what clothes you can pick out for school. “  Mom and Brittany can
work together selecting two outfits for the next day. In the morning, Brittany can choose
one or the other outfits. Mom can be really slick and suggest  two outfits that will coordinate
even if Brittany switches them up! Verbal praise the next day should bring a smile to
Brittany’s face! Mom can say “That was fun! Let’s check the weather again tonight and
see what you can wear to be comfortable!”

Dylan can be given a choice too - “Dylan, dad has a funny story to share at dinner.  
If you come sit with us, yout get to hear his story! If you eat just one piece of food,
than you can go play.  If you eat all your food, you can have dessert!” It’s still his choice
but there are hidden rewards and consequences.  Reward: fun conversations and dessert
and then play; Consequences: He’ll hear and see what he is missing including dessert!

No "ifs"
Make requests in language that assumes cooperation. "If you finish putting away 
your crayons, we can go to the park," suggests that perhaps your child won't clean up 
his crayons. Try instead: "When you put your crayons away, we'll go to the park."

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