The language we use with and around our children is so important. Children are absorbing our language and they are absorbing the meaning behind our language. Often we don't realise how powerful our words are and how much of an impact they have.
I have found there are two areas that I often use negative language. I often find myself using negative language around the weather and dirt! "Oh no you fell in to the puddle", "Oh yuck you are covered in mud", "It's raining a-g-a-i-n!".
We now live in England and if we don't go outside when it's raining and cold we would spend all of our time inside. It's important for our health that we move and explore outside and we want our children to enjoy it. We want our children to explore nature, to feel with all of their senses including touch, for many children this will involve getting dirty. Positive language can lead to positive associations, we can change our attitude, outlook and mood with words.
Here are a few notes I've made to help change my language;
- Make note of inner dialogue regarding weather and dirt. How do I observe the weather when I am alone, what am I thinking when the children are dirty and muddy?
- If you can't say something positive, say nothing at all. Remove negative language around the weather and dirt.
- Use neutral or positive language about the weather and dirt. "Wow, it looks like you had a great time", "Can you feel how wonderful and sqwelchy this mud is", "This rain is so refreshing, it feels nice on my face.".
- Use descriptive, scientific language, be a neutral observer, use weather to build vocabulary, "can you feel the light breeze", "the wind is coming from the North", "look at the Cirrus cloud".
- Reframe! Look for the positive in all types of weather. If it's raining "We can take a walk in our wellies and jump in puddles", If it's cold "Let's see if the puddles have frozen", there really is a positive to almost all weather conditions. Focus on the details that are less negative.
- If our children use negative language help them to reframe.
- Be mindful of tone. Tone can be just as important as our language.
- Discover the more we use positive language the better we will feel. We can have a positive association with cold, wet weather and dirt and mud!!
- Talk to others who you find use negative language around weather and dirt, especially family members, see if they are willing to adujst their language at least while they are with your chidlren.
- Fake it until you make it. This is worth a shot. It may be that you never like walking in the rain, but perhaps by letting go a little of your preconceived ideas and give it a go, you may actually like it.
Our children spend so much time in our care, our attitude and language really rubs off them. If we want them to enjoy all types of weather and all types of exploring, giving the gift of positive language is a fantastic step forwards!!