This may sound scary, but I promise it isn’t…
We will NOT be letting your kids run the house!
We are talking about handing off power and control over insignificant things.
If we want to empower our kids, then we need to understand that we can’t control another person.
Let that sink in…
It is not our job to control our kids, but to set our kids up in a way that teaches them how to control themselves. We can’t constantly tell them what to do and demand compliance without shattering their confidence and sense of significance.
Our goal is to EMPOWER them in a positive way.
To do that, we must focus on the things we CAN control; OURSELVES and the ENVIRONMENT.
Controlling ourselves means…
- not letting our emotions get the best of us
- keeping our tone calm and firm when speaking to our kids
- responding to misbehavior instead of reacting
In this post, we are going to talk about controlling the environment in order to give your child the positive power and control they crave…
1. Create a Decision-Rich Environment
A decision-rich environment is one where you offer your child choices within boundaries you find acceptable.
- Do you want the red cup or the blue cup?
- Do you want to play inside or outside?
- Do you want to put your shoes or your coat on first?
- Which book do you want to read first (out of 2 choices)?
What if your child refuses to make a choice or picks something that wasn’t a choice?
“Since you didn’t choose, I will choose for you.”
If a tantrum ensues, let it.
Your step-by-step guide to handling that tantrum is right here:
“When you create a decision-rich environment, your kids will be more agreeable in those situations in which they don’t have a choice.” – Amy McCready
For my kiddos with communication delays, add in visuals with those choices so they fully understand your question and can actively participate in the decision-making process.
For example, when giving the choice of a red or a blue cup, show your child a picture of a blue cup and a picture of a red cup. Let them point to their choice. And on your end, always be sure to model the word and expand on it.
“The blue cup! The big blue cup is my favorite, too!”
You do not need to require your child to repeat anything. Keep it low-stress so it doesn’t turn into a power struggle.
2. Remove Triggers in the Physical Environment
There are many power struggles that can be avoided simply by making some adjustments to your home.
Get rid of the triggers that invite power struggles so your child can feel more secure and content in his space.
One-year-old gets upset when you don’t let her play with the standing lamp —–> Remove the lamp
Toddler gets mad because he can’t have another roll at dinner —-> Only make enough for everyone to get 1 roll
Child draws all over the walls with marker —-> Remove markers from the house or store them out of reach
Catch my drift? Don’t sit and wait for the power struggle/behavior to happen. Set up your environment for success.
“But they need to learn consequences,” you say.
Yes, they do. However, that’s not going to happen when they aren’t developmentally ready. Children under 2.5 years old don’t fully understand the concept of cause and effect yet, therefore consequences are pointless.
Turn your space into a ‘YES space’ so your child can fully explore and learn in a stress-free environment.
3. Create Toddler-Accessible Spaces
Increase independence by creating spaces that your toddler can easily access and navigate on his own. Your house is naturally sized for an adult, so think of ways to make it so your child can take on some responsibilities independently.
- Place things that they can have/use on lower shelves (i.e. cups, snacks, towels, etc.)
- Lower coat hooks
- Accessible shoe rack and box for mittens, gloves, and hat
- Little kids table they can eat at (so they can set the table and clear table independently)
- Small table they can play or do crafts at
- Toilet seat insert so they can sit on the potty by themselves
- Step stools at sinks and counters so they can complete tasks and help out
Check out more ways to make your home more kid-friendly HERE.
If you want to see a radical behavior change in your child, then you must empower them each and every day.
You can do this by:
- Creating a decision-rich environment
- Removing triggers from the physical environment
- Creating toddler-friendly spaces
Regain control of your home by handing off some positive power and control.