Wow, how many times a day do we say “No” and “Stop”. It’s always for a good reason, right? You have to stop hitting, stop climbing, and stop someone from spilling milk all over, don’t you? The answer is probably “yes”, but as one of the educators in Quartz recently said, “I’m getting tired of hearing my own voice”.
This has prompted us to be more cognizant of how often we start an interaction with one of these roadblocks. It has been a fun experience. Although we haven’t been keeping a tally, we have been trying to catch each other using “no” and “stop” – so it has turned into a little game.
We are finding ourselves responding to situations in a more controlled manner. For example, if a child is climbing on the window sill and pulling on the levers, we can just use his or her name, and they respond by climbing down. We can then congratulate the child for making a good choice. It’s becoming so obvious that when a child is making a bad choice (like endangering themselves or someone else) they are well aware of it. All we really have to do is use their name, and then they become empowered to change their behaviour and make a better choice.
We have also realized that we were using “Stop” far too many times which was interrupting their play or their learning by natural consequence (hence the term “roadblock”). For example, one of the educators decided to let the children pour their own water at snack time. Not knowing this, another educator saw a child reach for the water jug and when the child began to pour, the educator shouted out “Stop”. It was then explained to her that this was supposed to be a learning experience. We laughed about it and reflected about how often we assume there is going to be a spill at snack or lunch time and how often we blurt out a roadblock instead of seeing the child as capable.
This has been such a positive experience for us as early learning educators. If you have a toddler and are getting tired of hearing your own voice, we highly recommend to challenge yourself to slow down a bit and use “Stop” and “No” more sparingly. You have a capable child and deserve to enjoy their learning journey.