I’m not sure if it’s right or wrong, but I’ve always preferred to look at kids as tiny rational and moral people rather than silly little clowns with nothing to do but continuously slurp and spit out water while frantically waving their arms (the latter does not help with the whole “rational” part).
Besides the fact that I have zero tolerance for lame conversations, I want the communication I use with my child to meet some kind of standard, and hopefully omit having to respond to as many annoying-AF toddler demands as possible.
Before we further explore my thoughts… I’d like to preface this by saying I’m mostly referring to communicating with toddlers, who (somewhat) already speak. I’m am NOT (before the internet gets hostile and implodes) referring to infants who rely on exaggerated sing-song convos because it actually helps them understand rhythm of speech. I get that. Do that. But do it quietly, man.
I feel like … if your kid’s at an age where he’s pseudo talking and can muster up a simple yet clear enough sentence (read: “MAMA. I dunnwanna take a nap.”) **SIGH** then this can be your official cue to drop the game and introduce them to the art of a) conversation and b) conveying actual information. To be honest, I started speaking to my then newborn like a full on member of society mostly because it was easier, and two years later, I’d like to say it worked out … most days.
Also, is there ANYTHING worse than listening to a grown ass woman spewing things like “Are you a sicky bear? Is your widdle bum bum ouchy? Does my peanut-butter-jelly-cup need to go caca?” Guaranteed that shit is gonna come back like a boomerang later when you’ll wish to the high heavens you never started it. The goal – in my case- is not to grow a man-baby, but a MAN. (You’re welcome future generations / my friends’ daughters).
WHAT I THINK*:
*Personal opinion only
** So many damn precautions these days
I think – the words we choose use are important obviously (even the f-bomb. It has its place), and a child is not realllllly ever too young to know them and use them in context. Sometimes folks can get into the habit of dumbing things down for the little ones, without realizing they are actually smarter than us. Hello, their brains aren’t fried yet.
Just because you’re speaking with a toddler, doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity to understand bigger words. Flower, dog and bird are fine but like… who wants to talk about that over a park date? I try to find as many new words as I can, from things all around, no matter how random. Equipment. Asphault. Eucalypts. Hand rail. Apricot. Lavender. (By now, you’re wondering what the hell kind of parks I go to… )
Descriptive words are my favorite because you can legit go on and on and they are just soaking it up like the messy little sponges they are. IE: No, it’s not just a blue truck that goes beep beep (save that for hungover parenting) it’s actually a recycling truck that recycles packaging like plastic, paper, and cardboard, in order to help keep the planet green and healthy. Look at all those awesome words; favourite being green of course.
I think that quality of conversation is important, and the more natural and confident these guys get with composing a strong sentene, the more respect they’ll gain. Now, in the sandbox and later, at that killer dinner party that we won’t be invited to. Wouldn’t you just love to raise a great conversationalist? I’m down.
And yes, I think you can correct errors without being a total tiger mom about it. Just be nice. I mean, your child is already putting in the effort to learn new things, might as well learn the right things. I get that it can be cute (most times) when kids don’t use proper pronunciation, enunciation or grammar… that’s why your smartphone has a video camera. Record it, and move on. Perpetuating will only create habit.
I also want to respect my son enough to tell him the truth and not sugarcoat life to make it sound like it belongs on Channel 68 (Toronto reference). There will most definitely be times that we will have to talk to our kids about tough shit… even when they are younger than we deem appropriate. We’re better off ever so gently equipping them for the world nice n’ early, and not having to keep track of any white lies. Too many secrets between you and the kids can’t be good for anyone.
Listen, I’m not saying talking to your kid like a drone at the office is where it’s at, although it certainly seemed like it on Mad Men… I love you Betty Draper!!! Obviously being playful is one of the up sides to parenting, but I’m thinking your 2-year-old may likely respond in a more positive way if you’ve always treated him like a person and not just your baby.
Choosing words carefully, speaking clearly AND politely will just rub off on them and you’ll totally look like a superhero at the playground one day. Enjoy that fruit of your labour.
And it’s not just the words. It bleeds into everything else… treating your child like an individual (they are, apparently) and giving him his own space, alone time, trusting him to help you do things, and making sure when he does make his own decision, the consequences are his to own as well, will round him out nicely.
But what I value most, is silence. Hence, why I also try to teach my kid to hang out in silence and I consciously make sure I’m not distracting him or trying to involve him in a conversation. Those should just happen naturally and not be the equivalent of you asking your man “What are you thinking right now?” Besides, when your little guy starts to enjoy downtime on his own, guess what you get? Some of it too. You know that’s forward thinking right there, Rebels.
Alright that’s it for me, I’m signing off. Just needed to get that all off my chest because I thought it was worthwhile. Besides, I can write what I like on here soooo – here’s to talking to your toddler like the little adult he thinks of himself to be anyways, and hopefully having to say “use your words” less often.