Yes, I have written about this subject here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/12/31/the-need-to-know/
and yes, also here, in an extremely popular post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/01/take-my-three-day-challenge/
but here I am again today, to remind those of you with children under 7, and even those of you with seven and eight-year olds, to check yourself today. How many words are you using with your children? How much explaining are you doing? Are you using a simple phrase or does your child need a notebook to write down everything you are saying about a given subject? What is going on with your rhythm now that we are over the holidays?
If you are talking too much, try focusing on talking less this week. Are you humming, are you holding the space just by your warm physical presence and your rhythm, are you singing and using verses for transitions, is life slow enough that you don’t need to rush, hurry and yell?
Less talking does not mean being less warm with your child; on the contrary, it gives you the freedom from words that your child may be perceiving in a negative tone (those of you with melancholic or sensitive children know exactly what I am talking about!) And, for those of you who have children where “nothing works until I yell”, less talking forces you to include the physical piece – using your gentle hands to guide your child to the next thing, using your gentle arms to hold your child and listen.
Less talking puts your child in the place of being listened to but not being judged. It puts your child in the position to not have to think about what a better choice would be for them to make in their behavior, but to have you be the parent and gently show them the better choice. They should not have to think about what the better choice is in behavior, or food, or anything else at an age under 7 – this is for later, where we let our children own their mistakes in preparation for being out on their own and when their logical thought is coming into play. That time is not now!
Keep working on it. In our society, which is so very head-oriented for small people, it can be difficult to change and do differently. But you are doing your child a true favor if you treat them in accordance with their developmental maturity in mind instead of forging ahead, putting the cart before the horse. Stop treating your 6 child year old like a ten-year old and your four-year old like a fourteen-year-old. Ask yourself: does my child need all this information now? Can this wait until my child is a bit older? What is the simplest way I can say this? What is the most neutral way I can say this? Will what I say now come out of my child’s mouth later in a judgmental way at myself or someone else? What is my tone?
Try talking less, use your warmth and your rhythm to really set those boundaries. Nursing takes place at these times for those older 3 and 4 year olds. We go outside every day at this time. Warm smiles, warm hugs, laughter and joy. Gentle hands and real work. These are the hallmarks of things, not so many words the child is lost after the first two sentences (and if your child is NOT lost after the first paragraph you say, this is a sure sign your under-7 child is being older than their developmental stage! And you can change this if you choose!)
The very verbal, in-their-heads little girls especially need this. Sometimes we expect an awful lot out of our five, six and seven year old little girls, particularly if they are the oldest in the family. Sometimes we are just shocked when they actually act their developmental age and want to be held, they feel jealous of a sibling, they don’t want to go somewhere or do something for someone else, they don’t feel like playing with a younger sibling while we do something else or they play roughly. Normal stages, but somehow we expect more out of them. Less talking can take a great burden off of these small souls to just let them be. Let them be just five, six or seven instead of seeing how “mature” they are. They have time to be mature! Right now they are little!
Try talking less; you may really enjoy it!
I would love to hear your comments,