As an adult, do you prefer to be asked or told what to do? The simple act of turning a statement or directive into a question completely changes the spirit of the moment. When you take this thought and apply it to a child – even as young as two – the results are surprisingly positive. Especially in the middle of winter!
The thought of bundling a child up in the dead of winter just to maintain a connection with nature seems about as pleasant as pulling a child from a birthday party right when cake is being served – would you ever?
The arguing and rationalizing over how many layers, the socks, the shoes … earmuffs, scarf or knit cap? And if you’re pro-active you’ve probably already bundled yourself up; so feeling “heated” by the moment is only exacerbated by the layers you can’t undo because you’re ready to go.
Next time you are in get-ready mode try empowering your child to make the logical decisions. Remember, children as young as two can rationalize these moments even if they can’t verbalize. A few Chipper tips to get you started:
Lay your clothes out and dress together! Ask questions that will guide your child to making the right choice:
“It’s cold outside, which shirt should I wear? What shirt should you wear?”
“Do I put on my shorts?”
“Do I wear sandals or my boots?”
Make it silly, saying, “I don’t need to wear my gloves, it’s hot outside!”
You challenge your child’s logical thinking and by making it playful they will engage in helping you get ready by getting ready themselves. Ask, “Show me how?”
The simple act of switching a directive into a question empowers independent thinking in your child; while also teaching them to think about themselves in relation to others. It’s a basic step but one to grow on …especially when engaging with nature.