Two siblings overheard at their great aunt’s visitation……”Where’s dad?” “He’s talking to his aunt, not the one that died, the other one!” Children communicate as clearly and concisely as their language development allows. Why is it then that adults, parents and professionals often attempt to communicate with children in a vague manner? Recently in a child care setting, I was frustrated as I heard repeated attempts to redirect children’s behaviour by telling them “No thank you!” I believe the teachers were attempting to guide the children gently with polite words, but really, how confusing is that for a three year old. No thank you! No thank you to what? No thank you, you don’t want me to play with Johnny? No thank you, you don’t want me to sit on this chair?
Whatever happened to the belief that children’s behaviour is best guided in a positive manner such as, asking a child to use their walking feet instead of running?
Whatever happened to the belief that children benefit from being told what to do, instead of what not to do? This is not just happening in child care environments but in schools, as well. Recently I heard a professional in a school environment tell two children if they could not get along together in the block area, then the area would be closed! What happened to teachable moments? What happened to teaching children by modeling and coaching to solve problem instead of making the problem go away by closing the block center?