THIRTEEN HABITS TO DEVELOP YOUR KIDS THE ELEVATE WAY
How we communicate with our children shows them how to be effective and fully functioning now and in their adulthood. The following are the top ways you can communicate with your children to ensure that they develop the skills to get what they want as they get older. I have attempted to put them in order of use based on their age.
1. Speak positive affirmations into their lives every night at bedtime.
Example: You say, “I believe in you! You are destined for greatness! You can do anything you set your mind to! You are a champ, you know that, Tiger?” You are setting them up for a positive self-esteem and an “I can do it” attitude!
2. Don’t tell them no, tell them to stop.
Example: Your child pulls on the cat’s tail. Instead of saying, “No! No! No!” say, “STOP!” This trains their mind that it is okay to take risks when they want to. Instead of their minds being programmed to always say no when they want to take a risk, their minds will become programmed to stop instead and think about what they are about to do and proceed if they would like to.
3. Address the behavior not the child.
Example: Your child throws a toy across the room. You say, “Johnny, we don’t throw toys across the room. That is not acceptable behavior.” We don’t say, “Johnny you are a bad boy for throwing the toy across the room.”
4. Teach them manners—“excuse me,” “please,” and “thank you.”
Example: Your child interrupts you midsentence while you are talking to another adult. You say to your child, “Wait until there is a break in the conversation and say excuse me.” Whenever the opportunity arises, always have them repeat out loud “please” and “thank you.” Did you know that studies show that people who say please and thank you are more trusted?
5. Make them ask for what they want and don’t let them say they can’t do something.
Example: Your child says, “I’m thirsty!” You say, “Okay, tell me what you want.” They say, “I want a glass of water.” Example: Your child says, “I can’t reach the water glass.” You say, “Don’t tell me what you can’t do, tell me what you need.”
6. Tell them what to do, not what not to do.
Example: If your child is carrying a large glass of almond milk, don’t say, “Don’t drop that glass.” Do say, “Hold on to that glass, tightly.” This trains their minds to think in a positive way and to think about what they want and not what they don’t want.
7. Don’t dismiss what they say as not being important.
Example: Your child says, “Mommy, the sun is up right now!” You say, “That is right, angel! You are so smart!” Do not say, “Duh, it comes up every morning, silly!” When we teach our children that what they have to say is important, and we validate that, it gives them the confidence to speak up when they need to.
8. Avoid use of the words: try, but, should, could, and maybe.
Examples: Try—Your child says, “I’ll try to pick up my room.” You say, “Do you mean you are going to pick up your room?” Do or do not. Do not try. Would/But—Your child says, “I would pick up my room but I want to do my homework first.” You say, “Do you mean, you will pick up your room and you want to do your homework first?” Should/Could—Your child says, “I should pick up my room today. I could pick up my room today.” You say, “Do you mean, I must pick up my room today; I can pick up my room today?”
9. When your kids ask you for something, see if they can figure it out themselves first.
Example: Your child says, “What is the capital of Colorado?” You say, “Hmmm, how would you get the answer to that? Let’s look it up online together and see if you can figure it out on your own.” Guide them to the source of the answer instead of just giving it to them. Train them to be solutions people.
10. Let them work out sibling fights on their own.
Example: They say, “Mommy, Billy hit me!” You say, “Talk it out together and then let me know what the solution is.” If they are unable to do that, give them suggestions and have them come back when they have worked it out. If they refuse to work it out, have them go in their rooms until they do.
11. It’s not did you win, it’s did you do your best?
Example: Your child comes home from her volleyball game. You say, “Did you do your best?” You do not say, “Did you win? Did you win?” If we are only happy if they win, it teaches them that you give them love only when they achieve something, instead of loving them because they are a human being. Hello, fellow Type A’s.
12. Teach them to use the word “I” not “you.”
Example: The child is talking about themselves and says, “You know when you get pushed around and you get really mad?” You say, “Do you mean to say, you know when I get pushed around and I get really mad?” Many of us explain how we feel using the word “you” instead of “I” when we are talking about ourselves. This allows them to not be responsible for how they feel. This teaches them that everyone experiences and feels the same way about life as they do, and they don’t.
13. Don’t let them ask for money.
Example: Your child says, “Dad, can I have some money?” You say, “Do you mean how can you earn some money?” Money is earned and kids learn the value early. When they know they need to earn their own money to get the things and experiences they want, they become resourceful and very creative.