We all know that little children are the best sponges ever! They absorb everything. They take in the world around them to make sense of it, to understand what is going on in their environment and to add to their database of knowledge! What wonderful creatures!
So what happens when we find ourselves constantly, yet not intentionally, bad-mouthing someone or talking badly about a stressful situation? We hope that they don’t take that in, but unfortunately they do. When children are young, they do not yet understand sarcasm so they will take what you say at face value. What to do?!
The best thing to do is to ban bad-mouthing in your household. Perhaps that’s easier said than done, but consider the positive impact that will have. Your children will be more observant of how you react to situations. They will imitate your reactions to stressful events and if they see that you are being mindful of what you say and react in a sensible way, they too may react the same way.
Use your words to communicate, but do so in a calm and collected manner. Sometimes the tone of our voice is enough to leave a lasting impression. When you’re feeling stressed about something, take a moment to breathe and calm down before talking about it, especially if you are reprimanding a child for something they’ve done. It is easy to forget and yell at them in the moment, but calmly talking about it helps loads. And take your time with it. If they are being fussy, wait it out until they are ready to talk.
Communication is key and if your child is starting to bad-mouth someone, it is best to nip it in the bud when it happens. Explain why it is bad to bad-mouth someone and how it hurts others when they do it. Set the good example for them to follow so that they will communicate better in the future too!
The more you communicate, the better they will learn!
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