“Create a loving environment? But I already have?” While this is likely true, as we learn more and more about the way our behavior as parents affects our child’s development, we realize there is always room for improvement.
We all know that feeling when a tantrum is building up. We see their eyes water up, fists tighten, and legs fall to the floor. Not to mention the loud inconsolable cries from our little ones. Tantrums are hard for both the child and parent. So, what do we do?
In these tricky situations, we must remain calm and remind our children that they are in a safe loving environment. This way we can provide a sense of comfort while supporting children’s self-regulation practices. Remember, social-emotional skills such as self-regulation are not intrinsic, they are developed with patience and practice. Check out these two amazing tips to create a loving environment for kids:
Actively working to create a loving environment at home can be easy as…
1. Rephrase Your Language
When setting out to create a loving environment for children, you must consider your language. Intentional language plays a massive role in the way your message is received. Instead of, don’t do that or stop running, try verbal redirection. For example:
- Stop running – Walking feet, please!
- Sit down – Bottom in a seat!
- Don’t play with that – That is not safe. Please do not play with that. You can play with ____ instead.
- Stop throwing the sand! – We do not throw the sand. We can use our hands and shovels.
- I said stop hitting! – do not use our hands for hitting! We can use gentle hands when we play.
Already, we see a major difference our language can make. By rephrasing our language, we can provide our child with explicit instruction and clear expectations. As parents and educators, we can use positive language to our advantage. After all, language is a great tool for communicating and redirecting behavior.
2. Provide Choices
Children do not enjoy being scolded or told what to do for that matter. We as adults understand that there will be situations where we must establish clear and concrete boundaries. With explicit boundaries in place, it is important to provide our little ones with choices. Be sure to explain to your child the difference between negotiables and non-negotiables. For example, your child must wear a helmet when riding a bike (non-negotiable) versus how your child may style their hair (negotiable).
At home, giving children choices can create a loving environment as it tells your child that they are trusted and valued. Giving children choices allows them to build independence, invites cooperation, develops problem-solving skills, and provides a sense of ownership over their actions. The key to providing children with choices is to decide what choices they can make independently or with minimal support. For example:
- Which book would you like to read today?
- Would you like to use markers or paint for your art piece?
- Would you like a grilled cheese sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
- Would you like to play with your magnet tiles or your pattern blocks?
- Would you like to dance or walk to bed?
- Would you like to clean up your art supplies right now or would you like two more minutes to prepare your body?
- Would you like to join us on the carpet or visit the calming corner?
Providing choices can do wonders in your pursuit to create a loving environment at home. More often than not, choices tend to avoid child reluctance and stress as they have a say in what’s next!
All in all, a loving environment is necessary for child development and success. A loving environment provides more than comfort, it reinforces a safe space, strong classroom culture, and a place to grow.
We at Tip-Top Brain pride ourselves on curating a loving environment for all our students. As soon as our students walk through our doors, we are eager to hold meaningful conversations and create deep connections with our students. We are always mindful of our language when working with our students and providing a variety of choices for our children to excel. We understand that a loving environment looks different for each student and thus we must differentiate our approaches. How will you implement these two best practices to foster a loving space in your home or classroom?