Me: "It's time to leave the store! Let's put all the toys back!" (We were at the UPS Store and they have toys for kids.)
Sean: "No! MINE truck!" and glares at me (which is SO super adorable, just FYI).
Me: "Can you put the toy back in the box all by yourself, or do you need me to help you?"
(In this instance, he needed my help.)
Me: "Everyone, let's get our shoes on! Time to go!"
Me: "Can you put on your shoes all by yourself, or do you need me to help you?"
Etc. It's a great tool for someone who is learning how not to hit (or throw or bite, etc.).
"Can you put the toy down gently, or do you need me to help you?"
"Can you stop your arms from hitting, or do you need me to help you?"
"Can you keep your spit in your mouth, or do you need me to help you?"
This is a favorite of mine because:
- It sets the expectation that X will get done, no matter what (minimizing battles).
- It gives the child a choice in the matter.
- It is a way for me to recognize that sometimes it's hard for the kid to do the necessary thing.
- It is a way for me to give the child a chance to do the necessary thing (and often they do!).
- If the child a chooses self-control and independence, then he gets to experience how that feels in a first-handed way.
- If the child chooses my help, then he can feel supported by me, a nice Mommy who understands that it's hard to do the right thing.
- It's a respectful way to communicate and guide.
In other words, this handy dandy phrase is well-aligned with my parenting principles. :o)
This post has been brought to you by a day in which I've needed to help people leave a store, and stop blowing loud whistles in the car while I'm driving, and find a kinder way to ask a sister for something.