Have you ever been told you can’t do something?  Have you felt stuck because you did not receive any advice on how else to get the job done?

We either sit there and accomplish nothing, or go through a long and bumpy period of trial and error to discover the correct way to carry out our goal.

Our jobs would be so much easier if someone would take the time to tell us on how to do a better job. Just saying, “No, you’re doing it wrong,” isn’t going to do very much. We need someone to say, “Yes, you can do it this way instead.”

It’s not just adults who have these situations forced upon them. Our children constantly face similar problems.

We are often telling our children to not do something a certain way, but we rarely give them alternatives.

For instance, if a child was jumping up and down on our best couch, we would most likely tell him to stop, and then go on with what we were doing.

If this is the way we handle this child’s behavior, we shouldn’t be surprised when he repeats the same action again. This is because we have just given him a “No” without any “Yeses”.

We have just told an energetic child to stop using the couch as an outlet without giving him any other choices.

Don’t you think it would make his job a lot easier if we gave him some acceptable alternatives?

Just like adults, children need options. If they reach a point where they feel stuck, they will push forward in a way that’s considered defiant, or they will explode, or crumble based on their temperament.

Children need alternative routes.

Here are some useful parenting tips and early education provider tips on creating those important alternatives with consistency.

  • Every “No” has two “Yeses”. You need to offer at least two different alternatives to what the child is trying to do.
  • Listen to the message the child is communicating through their behavior.  If they are trying to do something that involves moving their body, don’t redirect them with quiet activities. If their body needs to move, then give them acceptable alternatives where they can move their body. Activities like dancing and Simon Says will allow them to burn energy in a fun and acceptable way.
  • If a child comes up with their own ideas that seem reasonable, let them make their own alternative choices. Too many caregivers think that they have lost some control if they let a child come up with their own ideas. But, we want children to know how to make good choices.
  • Make sure the alternative ideas are desirable to both the child and to the caregiver.

In conclusion, remember, every moment is a teaching moment. So, giving two yeses teaches our children to make good choices.  Acknowledge your child’s good choices and praise them. And, be proud of yourself because children are a reflection of their caregivers.