Summer vacation is a wonderful time for kids, but sometimes we parents have a harder time with it. The routines that come with school days or preschool are gone. Often, parents have to come up with things to do. Parents have to lead in getting responsibilities accomplished and in finding fun activities for each day. In all of the additional chaos of summer vacation, we can become less patient and maybe a little more grumpy. It’s easy for any parent to fall into this. So when we are swimming in chaos and so many expectations, it’s good to have some helpful tools ready. One of these helpful tools is to have a plan to communicate with your kids in a positive way.
I see myself as a pretty positive person. But when things at our house get too chaotic, the not-so-positive side comes out, and I can fall into negative corrections and instructions. When we’re in a funk like this, it’s not easy to come up with a new plan. So it’s important to come up with a few ways to change things from negative to positive. When we make a plan ahead of time, we’re more likely to be successful.
It’s easy to correct sharply or harshly, especially when life gets busy. So let’s look at a few ways to correct our kids kindly. This does not come naturally for most of us. When our kids are doing something they shouldn’t be doing, we tend to communicate with a quick, “No! Don’t do that!”
Now imagine hearing that kind of communication over and over throughout your days. There are so many situations we face in teaching and correcting our kids. So let’s switch it up a bit. Let’s come up with a way to communicate corrections to our kids in a positive way.
Here are some ideas. Of course, change the “this” to the situation you’re in.
Hey, why don’t we do this instead? (Redirect to the desired behavior.)
Do you remember when we talked about this? (Help them remember your expectations.)
What do we do when this happens? (Help them think through and listen to your expectations.)
Look at my eyes please. I have something to say to you. (Get their attention in a calm way.)
Do you think this is a good way to handle this? (Again, help them think through what they know.)
Is there a different way we could do this? (Help them think about how to change their behavior.)
And as you correct more kindly, it’s helpful and effective to go to your child, and even to place a hand on his shoulder, and then say your correction. This is the hardest thing to do as you communicate with your kids in a positive way. We tend to call out corrections or instructions from where we are. But it is so much more effective to go to your kids and speak to them kindly and in a regular tone. I’m still working on this with my teenagers. I want to call to them instead of going to them. Yet, when I take the time to walk to where they are and speak to them, I get a much better response.
It’s important to encourage our kids throughout the day as well. Often, we all settle into what we’re doing and go on through the day. But without positive communication like encouragement from us, our kids can feel like we only correct them.
And child development experts say that the way we encourage our kids is important too. It’s easy to say, “Great job!” when our kids do something well. However, it turns out that this is too vague and can come to mean nothing to our kids. It can come across as flippant and quick on our parts.
So let’s think about a few ways to encourage more specifically. At first, we might be adding these phrases to our “good job” encouragement while we get used to changing things up. And that’s just fine. As we practice adding different types of encouragement, we’ll get used to the new ways, and the generic “good job” will show up less and less.
Here are some ways to be more specific in our encouragement.
I saw you do that, and I think it was great.
You solved that problem yourself!
Hey, way to think about someone else!
Oh, I can tell you cleaned up here!
I was so proud of you for doing this.
Thank you for doing that.
These are just simple statements acknowledging what our kids have accomplished or letting them know that we noticed their efforts. But statements like this stick with our kids. They tend to hear them better and be more motivated by them. So they are another way to communicate with your kids in a positive way.
My Signing Time
Our free Signing Time Dictionary has signs that you can use in helping your children understand your positive communication even more. You can look for specific signs in the search bar or just explore the different sections. There is a section on manners that might be helpful for positive corrections and instructions.
And our shows in My Signing Time are full of positive communication too! You can try out a My Signing Time digital subscription with a 14-day free trial right here. This might be a lifesaver for something positive and educational to do this summer.
What new thing will you try to communicate with your kids in a positive way?