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Tip #2: Use “First/Then”

 

This is a great concept when it comes to talking to children. It helps us be more mindful of our language, which avoids all those negative effects of the word “no”. When your child asks you a question, provide them with a demand first, then allow them what they want.

Here is a great example:

Child: “May I watch TV?”

Parent: “No! Your room is a mess! You need to clean it.”

The child is going to immediately go into that fight-or-flight response.

Instead, try: “Good idea! First, clean up your room, then you may watch TV.”

This will help you remain an ally with your child while still placing your demand. Remember, as soon as you say “no”, your child is going to disconnect and stop listening. So they heard “no”, and ignored you telling them to clean their room. Instead, target their motivation (their “want”). You’re still giving the same answer, but with different language. Everyone wins!

Keep in mind that this is NOT spoiling your kids. Some important points to remember:

1. You cannot control another person’s behavior.

2. You can only control YOU.

3. Children need to learn self-control, since they can only control themselves as well.

4. Self-control can only come from within themselves.

5. We can help them learn this by targeting their motivation!

 

Success Tip:

You can use this any time, any place! Be mindful of your child’s motivations. Whenever your child is motivated (wants something), you can use it to connect and practice following instructions. You should be looking for opportunities to use their motivation ALL the time. Make this your fall back instead of saying “no”.

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Your behaviour guide and coach, Stephanie Wicker-Campbell, has been supporting families just like yours for almost fifteen years! Teaching special needs children and studying early intensive behaviour intervention for over six years laid the foundation for her work with Simply Kids. Grounded in behaviour science, Stephanie's passion for counselling and developmental psychology play a big role in her coaching programs. Defining success by the progress of her clients, her goal is to no longer be needed. So, get in touch and work her out of a job!

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Stephanie Wicker