Thinking back, what were some of your first thoughts after becoming pregnant?
Did you catch yourself daydreaming about long walks in the park? Perhaps meeting some new friends at a community playgroup? Or maybe your thoughts were filled with laughter and giggles and cuddles and kisses with your new little bundle of joy.
The one thing I know I definitely wasn’t thinking about?
Getting frustrated with my kids.
It never crossed my mind. Not even once.
So fast forward to when those first feelings started creeping in and boy oh boy — was it ever a shock. And when I first started looking for support in how to deal, I came across list after list telling me to take deep breaths and leave the room if I needed to. All very excellent advice, but what I needed was something practical. Something hands-on and appropriate for my toddler’s level of understanding that would reduce the chance of these incidents happening in the first place.
Enter: The magic of choice.
It sounds so simple, but this little word has saved my sanity on more occasions than I care to admit.
The beauty is in its simplicity. It’s easy to implement and so straightforward that even the youngest of toddlers can understand.
“Do you want to walk beside me? Or would you prefer to ride in the cart? You decide.”
“Can you walk to the car by yourself? Or do you need some help?”
“Would you prefer the blue cup? Or the red cup?”
These small opportunities to have their say have a big impact on giving our kids the sense of power and control they crave, while providing limits and boundaries as to how much and what kind.
So the next time you catch yourself bracing for a battle or feel an epic power struggle coming on, give choice a try.
I hope it makes a big an impact in your home as it has in mine.
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