Teaching moments happen almost daily when you are on child duty, but some can be a little more necessary than others…
I was boarding the bus heading for our midweek outing to the children’s museum. The ride had begun with a few sips of milk, a lovely rendition of the wheels on the bus and a few ‘what’s that’s’?!’ directed at people close by. All of a sudden I felt a swat on my hand. Now I knew what my little one was TRYING to get across to me. “Please move because I want to put my hands there,” is what she meant to say (and I would have gladly done it). Because I knew this, and I know that we all need reminders sometimes, I reminded her that we do not hit and if we would like to put our hand where another’s are we say ‘Excuse me’. She nodded understandingly and said excuse me. I moved my hands and life was good. Not but a few minutes later, I felt another swat on my hand followed by another. I softly, but firmly took her little hands, came down to eye level to make sure my voice was heard and repeated, “we do not hit, if you want someone to move we use our words” (Remembering that the less words we all use in correction and redirection with our little ones the better, I left it at that).
I knew that at this point, she was testing out the waters of ‘well, what are you going to do about it’ pool. Every child does. For some it may be more around 1 or 2 years of age and for others you may see a huge display of this when they hit their teen years, but either way it does need to be addressed. You see, our children (as we did) need a reason WHY not to do something that you kindly request or require they not do, not just a no or please don’t. Can I get an amen from anyone who has ever tried to just talk a kid out of not grabbing that cookie off the counter? This was one of those times. The next time she attempted to swat at my hand I was ready, caught her little hand before it could reach mine and held it safely for one whole minute. I reassured her that she would have her hand back but if she was going to use it to hit then it needed to take a break. There is absolutely no hurting involved with this ‘why giving’ and there should be none. Providing the why should be affective and immediate not dragged out and painful. There are many some other forms of ‘why giving’ that could be given as well:
- Because if you don’t, you will need to serve 2 minutes in break
- Because if you don’t, we will not be enjoying any more chocolate milk
- Because if you don’t, you will need to sit on my lap for the rest of the ride
Remember that the ‘why’ that you are giving must match the crime and their age. I will talk more on this later, but here is a good place to start.
When the time was up and her little hand could go free to either make the kind decision or unkind one. The choice was hers, but now she had the ‘why’.
We soon exited the bus, dug out a yummy snack from under the stroller and continued to the museum. There was not another incident of hitting.
Have you ever experienced a teaching moment with your little? I’d love to know how you handled it! Comment below!