Parenting is tough! And one of the really hard parts of parenting is setting limits for our children.
One thing that can make life a little easier for you (and your child!) is using something called “I-messages”. Using I-messages sounds like this:
Instead of “Get down!!” try, “I am afraid you might fall when you climb up on the couch."
Instead of “Stop running in the store!!” try, ”I worry when I cannot see you in the store. Please stay next to me.”
Instead of “Do not throw things!” try, “I worry that you might hit your friend when you throw your toys. What/where could we throw that is safe?”
Instead of "Don't leave your toys all over the floor," try, "Wow, there are a lot of toys on the floor. I am nervous that someone might trip. Let's put some of them away!"
Why do I-messages help?
I-messages take the blame off of your child and put the focus on the behavior. This will help your child be more receptive to what you are saying, making those tough parenting moments just a little easier for you - and for your child!
I-messages are not just for redirection!
I-messages are also a great way to inspire critical thinking and problem-solving skills in your child:
“I wonder what we could do with these?”
“I wish somebody was singing a fun song right now."
"I think that you can do it! You are strong and capable!"