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  • Hannah Rosalie

'No' means 'no' and other parenting myths.

Have you ever noticed that if you tell a child not to do something, they often immediately do it? It's a strange and exasperating quirk of child development. And no, unlike many behaviours, it's not one that children grow out of particularly fast. So, what do we do about it?

At Seasons we talk about our foundation of respect. We also talk about trust and wellbeing. If children are regulated, feel seen and heard, have freedom and value, then their foundation is solid. And we can begin to build on this. They are then free to create, play and explore in a way that fosters infinite possibility and their true potential is reached.

I'd like to start by explaining our choices at Seasons and how we choose to keep our little friends safe. As an open and outdoor setting, safety is front and centre of our days. As a Forest School nursery, we also spend a lot of our time enhancing children's confidence and resilience through purposeful techniques. We 'allow' freedom, risk-taking and adventure. That said, it is also our duty to raise responsible, caring, considerate and independent children ready for their next chapter, be it school or home-education.

But that doesn't mean our days are peppered with 'stop, wait and no'. Or that they are restricted with endless rules and boundaries. Every child is different and every educator is different. What we aim to do is tailor our 'parenting' to our children. Which is no doubt what you are naturally doing at home. We believe in children, we trust them, we respect them. And we expect this to be mutual.

Building these foundations requires, practice, skill and creativity, but below I have set out some ideas and pointers that I hope will help create a more positive, inspiring learning environment at home.

  1. Whittle out unnecessary use of 'no' in your day by turning no into yes.

    1. 'Don't spill your drink' becomes 'You're so careful when you drink now, look how you don't spill anymore.

    2. 'No running!' becomes 'I'm so impressed at how you walk safely by the road'

    3. 'No, you mustn't snatch' becomes 'Next time, I think you will be gentle. Show me'

  2. Reserve 'no!' for special and dangerous moments. Replace with 'stop!'

    1. 'Stop!' when a child is about to hit, run in front of a car or throw a rock carelessly.

  3. Praise, praise and more praise. Balance out the negatives with positives. For every cautionary or critical comment, sub in a positive.

  4. At all costs reserve 'no' for when you really mean it. And never risk using it during a battle that may not be won!

If we are battling with behaviour, dos and don'ts, consequences and rewards, then we are working at a much lower value place. That's why we invest so heavily in wellbeing, to look at emotions behind behaviours and foster an environment where children feel safe and respected.

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