Now listen here ...

As I've said my wee one is getting bigger and boisterous and voicing her opinion in both vocal and physical manifestations ! As in wee tantrums are starting and the word NO! Is happening a lot. Even when she means yes sometimes, which can be quite funny. And confusing for me and others. I almost have to do a double negative to get to what she or I want. Hehe.

But I have found apart from mudding the waters with perplexing sentences, a way to side step some of the confusion. Previously I talked about taking the time to help them to learn the words that they need to communicate successfully. Giving them space and time to formulate what they want to say, sign language , them copying you and you correcting them. Now it moves on to the next step of them needing to listen and learn how to use this new found vocalisations and verbalisation to work with others.

As you will have figured out , they know a lot more than they say and definitely a lot more than they let on! And at times they understand a lot more than we give them credit for. So use this wonderful platform to get them participate vocally, in their tasks and talk about it to them and with them. To side step frustrations I have found you need to say everything, talk to yourself as such out loud,

Communicate your thoughts. So they feel part of conversation/thought process and decision making. As in you talk non stop . Give direction, ask them to follow an instruction. We need to go to the car, get them repeat car ( usually one of the first 100 words ) I need you to put on shoes, get them to say shoes , Mummy needs her shoes. If they feel part of the process then they feel an element of control over themselves. Our wee ones get three things in their young lives that they control autonomously. When they sleep , eat and poop. So bringing them in on the day to day decisions that concern them, gives them a sense of self , confidence and pride.

Engage the senses , touch, speak and look at them. I have found , isyou alert the senses , especially at the same time they tend to listen better to what you are saying. Its been proven that children really don't listen. It's not their fault as they are learning so much at the same time, they literally switch off to other aspects around them. So if they are focussed on a task, they will not hear you ! Its also why they can sleep through white noise ,( I feel they actually sleep better with white noise ) So call their name several times if needed, touch them to get their attention on you. Tap on shoulder or a gently hand pull ( its how they get your attention sometimes so they recognise the gesture ) can be the difference between them hearing what you need from them and not and everyone getting frustrated. The example above with the shoes, touch their feet as you say go put on your shoes. Make eye contact. With the combination of senses being engaged, it switches on the brain.

Say what you need (hear )

Touch a body part ( feel)

Make eye contact (see)

Get them to repeat what they can of the sentence ( their own voice and thoughts process the request).

I use this way of communicating in as many aspects as I can. If wee one is trying to get me to do something. I will put it into practise, lift her up or I go down. Ask her to use her words to convey what she needs or express it and get her to agree that we are onto same page. I touch her hand to let her know I'm acknowledging her. Eye contact to tell her I'm listening. I now even say, I'm listening what do you need ? Ive spoken in another blog about the importance of you listening to the little things so in years to come your children will talk to you about the big things . Communication flows both ways right from now.

Praise prasie praise. This is a no brainer. if they hear you , and complete what you need or if you hear them and something gets achieved, celebrate it. Acknowledge they did good. That they listened or you did. There is nothing like that warm fuzzy feeling for both of you when they get it.

Once you have go the flow of hearing you and in turn actually listening down from both sides, I have found it helps to give them limits as in time limits / play limits to encourage them to do what you have asked. They're not boundaries, but requests like 5 mins till we go or last puzzle of choose three books for bedtime , etc. You don't like things being sprung on you and neither does your child. Again if having them feel part of the process leads to an element of control of themselves in their mind it in turn helps with limiting frustrations in situations. If they know they have certain amount of power over themselves , they are more likely to come without a fuss and they knew that this activity is ending soon. They have chosen their books or had time to finish up and move on themselves rather than being yanked out of their comfort zone. This is the hardest of the listening lessons, trust me and takes time and patience and determination to see it through. But with those elements, it does work and leads to an easier relationship for all of you.

Later on you move to boundaries, and let them navigate within them. Like a drink , you choose the types and they choose which one within your boundaries. Like milk or water or this or that. They feel like they are getting some say in the matter but they're not getting anything outside of your boundaries. Or do you want to do this or that first ? What ever it is, is still getting down just they decide the order. They think they are in charge while we know they are not really. Shhh

Listening and learning to do what is asked is not an easy phase, for either side. You have had complete control over them and now you are having to give some of that authority back to them. They are learning that no everything goes their way. Its give and take. No one likes being told what to do , at any age ! Especially as what you were doing is fun and someone wants you to stop. But with the skills above you can have a shot at getting your wee ones to feel like they are part of the process, having a say in their lives, be it their environment, their bodies, their thoughts. And doing ultimately what you want but them not knowing it.

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