Say Yes to Childhood

Parenting can be tricky. We want our children to be resilient, empathetic, and able to self-regulate. However, with the busyness of life, the experiences that build these characteristics fall by the wayside, and “no” becomes an automatic response. Children are continually being told what to do and what not to do. As a result, the reaction of parents for many child requests is rarely yes. And, unfortunately, this is typical because they are exhausted, don’t want to be disturbed, or simply because it has become a habit. However, parents should be saying is yes…yes to childhood, and yes to a joyful family.

As we would all agree, children need rules and limits. Therefore “no” is something we need to say. But the more frequently we use the word no, the more children begin to exhibit unwanted behaviors such as tantrums, talking back, and defiance. Remember…behavior is communication. And often, parents aren’t aware of how frequently they say no, and when children become disobedient, parents implement even more rules. However, this approach frustrates children and parents further, takes the joy out of the little moments in life, and suffocates children’s wonder about the world around them. Having a balance of rules and finding moments of happiness within the daily chaos will help children develop better self-regulation.

As parents, it is our job to create an atmosphere for our family. Finding times to say yes, enthusiastically, to our children’s requests will go a long way in connecting and strengthening family bonds. This is not about saying yes to all their requests, however. There still needs to be rules and limits. Instead, it’s about saying either “yes” or “no” consciously and turning off the automatic “nos.” By doing this, parents become more present in the moment, which helps them realize that their child’s requests are a way of connecting. Being open and flexible will go a long way in assisting children in experiencing more joy in their daily routine.

One of the most beneficial programs to help parents find this balance is the Parent SKILLZ curriculum created through the SKILLZ Child Development Centers. The program provides tips on becoming a better parent by implementing eight essential skills in strengthening the parent-child bond. Those include connection, attunement, patience, prompting, edutainment, nurturing, adaptability, and consistency. These easy-to-implement skills are a quick way for parents to be present with their children and have fun while finding joy in the little moments with them. By doing this, bonds are strengthened, and children become more resilient and empathetic.

As we engage and connect with our children, we are saying yes to childhood. Being more flexible and open to our children during daily chaos will help everyone feel happier. As parents, we must remember that there can be joy within the rules and limits that are in place. By choosing to say yes to some of your child’s requests, you express acceptance and create a more cooperative child.

-Jennifer Salama

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