|Happy Child by George Hodan|
When I was told this it affected both my work with children and my home life. At first I realized how many times I did say "don't" even if it was with the word "please". (Please don't touch that) Then I had to re train myself to stop saying don't and it helped me to always try and think of the positive way of saying things.
"Don't throw your toys" becomes "Let's put the toys in the box"
"Don't draw on your books" becomes "We draw on paper - here is some paper"
"Please don't slam the door" becomes "This is how you close the door quietly"
"Don't squeeze the poor cat" becomes "Touch the cat gently"
Here is how an expert in childhood education and developmental psychology explains this concept: Young children cannot conjugate the word “don’t.” When we say, “Don’t touch the lamp,” they hear, “Touch the lamp!” They look at you with a smile and touch the lamp. We think, “You wicked child, you deliberately defied me,” and enter power struggle territory. Instead of using “don’t,” pivot and tell the child what to do. “Don’t touch the lamp,” becomes, “Hold my hand (offer your hand) so you can learn how to touch delicate things softly.” “Don’t run,” becomes, “Walk slowly like this.” Dr. Becky A. Bailey.
FREE Work Sheet from University of Wisconsin: Focus on DO Instead of DON’T
This post is linked to The Sunday Parenting Party