During a child’s early stages of life, when they often lack the words to effectively communicate, it is important for parents to connect rather than create distance. As parents, we tend to tell our children we can’t understand them when they are whining, or we demand that they stop. Remember when you were a child, how frustrating and upsetting that could be? Children’s World Learning Center, a preschool in Greenville, NC is here to help! Here are some steps to take to communicate with your child more effectively.
When there are endless answers to open-ended questions, toddlers can get stressed out or frustrated by not knowing exactly how to answer. For example, when asking what a child wants to eat, ask yes or no questions. “Do you want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” Your child will have a much easier time making a decision this way, and can effectively communicate what they do and don’t want with a simple yes or no. This eliminates any chance of misunderstanding as well.
When communicating with toddlers, we need to lower ourselves to their level in order for them to truly feel heard. It makes us seem more relatable and approachable and less like giants in their eyes. You can ask your child to look at your eyes or speak into your ear to encourage positive communication.
We all interpret things differently, and that includes young ones. If you notice that your child doesn’t respond well to certain things that you say, try rephrasing. It also helps to provide more context when saying no. Children may not understand why they can’t do certain things, so they try to find a way around it. You may tell your child not to touch something, so they lick it instead. Hey, it happens! Explain why they can’t do the things that you say no to so you can prevent that “but can I…” mentality.
Sometimes we are so determined to set boundaries for our children that we say too many words to explain, which leads to us losing their attention. This is most important in dangerous situations. If your child is too close to the street, spilling a long sentence about how cars are dangerous and they need to walk on the sidewalk beside you will likely go in one ear and out the other. In cases like these, it is more reasonable to say “Get back!’ and then explain, at eye level, why being in the street and getting too close to cars is dangerous. These small exclamations get their attention without extra fluff and open the door for further communication.
When a toddler becomes flustered or starts to have a meltdown, the best thing for parents to do is ask how they can help. It can be something as simple as one word and pointing at something for a child to get their point across about why they are frustrated. Asking what you can do to help opens the door for positive communication rather than shutting your child down for becoming upset.
Use these tips to cut down on frustration in yourself and your toddler. Communication is key and can help in those complicated situations when you just don’t know what to do. At Children’s World Learning Center, we aim to provide high-quality care to enrich and enhance each child’s social, emotional, cognitive, language, and creative development. Our dedicated staff is invested in each student and love to see children grow and succeed. Contact Us today to learn more about our program and enrollment for our childcare centers in Greenville, NC!