Talk to Your Kids. They listen

I am a firm believer in talking to our kids.  Even before my girls could talk or understand what I was saying, I was talking to them. In my belly and as newborns.  Even now that my oldest is 12, I can go into a talking rampage for an hour or so into why she shouldn't listen to everything her friends tell her.  She listens. She trusts me. I’ve taught her how.

I don’t know how I learned this lesson really, my mother never talked to me. It’s just that I love to talk and I learned in my Child Development courses that children’s curiosity need to be fed or else they will grow restless and do the undesired behaviour always. They will either do it with or without you.  Either way, they will do it.  It’s best to be their guide while they explore and learn from their world.

Teaching my children the “why” of things has been such an important part of their development.  There are so many times I’ve heard mothers say to their kids “No, because I said so!”. It drives me nuts!  “Because I said so?”  That's it? Really? Your child with his barely developing brain can't make much sense of this either.

Children want to know why so putting in some 5 minutes of your time to explain the why to your child will save you 30 minutes or more to have to clean up the mess your child created because he never knew why he should not have touched that box with shiny things in it.

I didn’t even know I was doing it until my sister told me I was doing it.  My daughter was a normal one year old, walking and exploring everything around her yet she never broke a single one of my breakables.  I remember a time I went to visit one of my sisters and as soon as I let my daughter loose, I took 5 minutes to explore the living room area with her.  She went to the center table where my sister had a few beautiful, shiny ornaments that my daughter immediately became drawn to.  I showed then to her by holding them for her while she touched them.  She kept saying “wow, so pretty” and “wow mama”.  I told her  “yes, so pretty but you can’t tough it, it will break.  Ok? No no touch.”  How cute, I still remember this like it was yesterday.

No, no touch. I say that over and over again after I allowed her time to touch it and caress it and I let her explore every one of the things while I made sure the item was safe.  All the while she kept repeating to herself “no, no touch”.  It took me no more about 5-10 minutes to talk to her and explore the area until I had satisfied her curiosity and we were done.  She touched, she learned what they felt like and she learned that they would break and she was done.  I walked away and not once again did this one year old become interested in these fancy, breakable vases. Once in a while I would see her pass by the vases repeating to her self "no no touch".

“How did you do that?” My sister asked me.  “You don’t know how many times I’ve had to remove my vases and curios from my tables when moms visit me with their children.  They begin to touch and grab immediately and the moms just say ‘NO!!!’ slap the kids hands and the kids keep doing it.”  My sister had many of her things broken before too and she said you did in five minutes what they could never do.  She had to resort to just removing the items as to not tempt the kids anymore.

By having a simple understanding how a child’s mind works, you can help it develop better.  A child has a strong almost impossible drive to explore, to touch and feel.  There is nothing you can do about it so you just have to go with it.  Show them what it feels like, tell them it will break and then they move on.  Telling your one year old a vase will break probably has little importance to him.  They don’t understand but by just merely sedating their curiosity, they quickly become bored and move on to something else.

I couldn't just simply tell my kids NOT to do so something but had to explain the consequences if they did. 

"Don't jump, you'll fall and you could break your arm then have to go to the hospital and get a shot. Do you want to get a shot?" 
Her little scared face would say "no." 
"Ok, then. Are you going to jump on your bed?" 

With full understanding of the consequences, I believe it helped my girls make better decisions and choices in life. I've never had a broken leg or a broken arm and here's praying they never do!!  

I have taught my kids all their actions have consequences. Some good and some  bad. With a little bit of fear and lots of love and even more understanding I can only hope they continue to strive to do more of the good in life.