Positive. Gentle. Empowering. Self Esteem.
All of these are words that you might have heard of as a parent or caregiver, but were unsure of how to take action to incorporate them into your daily life and interaction with your children. How does using positive words equal having a positive mindset?
The first step to be aware of is your mindset. We’ve already discussed knowing how the brain works: (https://www.wellspringprepacademy.com/post/positive-guidance-at-wellspring) and how we can be aware of our own and child’s state of mind.
The next step is word choices. These are small, but intentional words that can make a huge impact on both your and your child’s day. Let’s dive into how we utilize positive words.
We talk in the affirmative. Why? Because, just like when we drive a car, ride a horse, or kick a ball, we tend to go where we focus. For example, if you are playing in a soccer game and want to make a goal, you’d have a higher chance of making it if you focus on the back of the net rather than focusing on trying to avoid the post or goalie.
It’s the same with you and your child’s goals, behavior, and mindset. We focus on the verb and giving them affirmative choices and/or words. We give them something to focus on.
Some examples of affirmative choices for children could look like:
Hold my hand. Hold my finger.
Hold my hand and give me three squeezes.
Help me wipe down the table, then we’ll chat.
Say, move please.
Get three tissues please.
Let’s have the bugs live outside in their own home.
You can stack the rocks.
Let’s make a cave with the rocks!
Do you want to be alone?
I have a soft blanket, do you want to snuggle?
Some examples of affirmative choices we can give ourselves:
I need a moment to breathe three times.
Let me break this down into an easier task.
I should call my friend.
I'll look at Lauren during my presentation.
I'm not going to answer this phone call right now.
I need a soft blanket to snuggle with!
These affirmative choices can be used to guide them to a more regulated state. Their state of mind, reactions, and actions are not yours. They may say “no!” or throw themselves deeper into a tantrum. That’s ok! You are in control of your own state of mind, you have your own skills, and you are empathetic to their situation. Knowing your relationship with your child, you can balance between affirmative choices and positive reconnection.
Keep in mind that there is no “bad” behavior. Our children are just now learning skills in context and need a guide to help them. You are that guide. Remember to make it both age appropriate and level to the child’s already known skills.
Consistently throughout the day and especially after an emotional moment, it’s important to reconnect. They weren’t just acting out to “annoy” you, rather, they were struggling towards mastery of a skill. Listen and empathize with compassion towards them. It may not be all about the truck they were fighting over. It could be that they are tired, lunch wasn’t their favorite, a friend gave them a dirty look and THEN took their favorite truck right out of their hands! How terrible! It’s ok to be upset, we just have to learn what affirmative decisions we can make during those moments.
Always remember, it’s a brand new day everyday, and that day can start anytime. Just because you were grumpy yesterday doesn’t mean you are grumpy today. Give them and yourself an opportunity to grow and learn.
Practice talking to yourself with positive words. Give yourself some affirmative choices, and extend that encouragement to others in your life!