A screaming baby, an overflowing laundry basket, burning food on the stove, and you haven’t had a bite to eat all day. The furthest thing from your mind is being a calm adult, let alone a mindful parent. As counterintuitive and as tricky as it seems, it is during these most difficult times that our babies benefit most from hearing positive language from the grown-ups around them.
Not only will this keep them calm during the chaos of everyday life, but they will look to you as an example of how to react when the going gets tough. Modelling resilience, vulnerability and bravery when we feel tested is immensely beneficial to our little ones.
But the benefits of positive language goes beyond keeping a level head. Positive language increases your baby’s self-esteem and will eventually help them focus on positive behaviour instead of negative, destructive ones. It is not about praising your child but rather a way of saying precisely what you want your child to do instead of commanding what they should and shouldn’t be doing.
And science seems to agree - initial studies showing clear neurological reasons for avoiding negative language. When you hear the word NO, your fight, flight or freeze response is activated and children (and adults) will most likely react with their gut instinct - anger.
Young babies also have no concept of why certain things are dangerous and find it difficult to understand a command such as “No”, “Stop that”, or “Don’t touch that”. It’s much easier to understand what they CAN do. Instead of saying, “No, don’t play with that!”, redirect them to a safe activity and say, “These toys are safe for you to have fun with”.
Here are five steps to becoming a parent who uses more positive language:
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