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One of the best ways to communicate better with your toddler is to talk to them the way you want to be talked to. Moms and dads sometimes sound threatening or judgmental when they talk to their kids. This is especially true when a child does something wrong.

Having a clear head, and approaching the situation with a problem-solving mindset can really do wonders to help you communicate better with your toddler.

1. “Do you remember what you need to do?”

Instead of telling your child to “Be careful” whenever they play outside, why not try using this phrase instead?

Asking them if they remember what they need to do reminds them of what behavior you expect from them. Asking a question also helps them think for themselves and makes it easier for them to remember to be careful.


2. “Please talk softly”

It’s normal for children to be noisy. And as your child grows older, it’s important to teach them that shouting or being noisy isn’t something that they should do all the time.

Whenever your little one makes too much noise, instead of telling them to “Keep quiet,” it’s better to ask them if they could speak softly instead. This way, you’re teaching them what behavior you expect, instead of simply telling them to stop being noisy.


3. “Do you need my help?”

Instead of telling your child “Do it now,” it’s better to say “Can you do it yourself?” or “Do you need my help?”

This helps you empower your child and lets them know what your expectations are. It also helps you communicate better with your toddler since you’re engaging in an active dialogue with them instead of just bossing them around.


4. “Did you learn anything from what you did?”

Kids make mistakes, and it’s a normal part of their growth and development. Which is why it’s much better to ask your child what they learned instead of simply telling them that they did something wrong.

Asking them if they learned anything makes them think more about their actions and it also helps motivate them to do better next time.


5. Learn to say “please”

How would you feel if someone kept telling you what to do, without even saying “please?” It doesn’t feel good right?

That’s why it’s important to say please whenever you’re asking your child to do something. “Please pick up your toys” or “Please finish your food” works better than saying “Pick up your toys,” or “Finish your food.”

This also teaches them to use “please” when they request something from other people.


6. “Let’s see how fast we can do things today!”

The best time to use this phrase would be during mornings before going to school, or if you’re going on a family trip.

This helps your toddler understand that they need to do things faster without putting them under a lot of pressure.

However, it’s also a good idea to slow down sometimes to help your kids relax and take a breather.


7. “Do you want to go now, or in 10 minutes?”

Kids love to be in control of what they do. That’s the reason why this phrase works better than simply telling your child “We have to go now.”

That’s because it offers them a choice and makes them feel like they’re the ones calling the shots.


8. “Can you add that to your birthday list?”

There will come a point in your little one’s life where they’ll start asking you to buy toys for them. Instead of saying “no” outright, why not ask them if they could add it to their birthday list, or maybe add it to a “reward list” of toys that you give them when they do good deeds or earn money for themselves.

This prevents them from always getting what they want and emphasizes the importance of being patient and “earning” the gifts and toys that they receive.


9. “Calm down, what do you want to do?”

Tantrums aren’t exactly the most exciting things in the world. If your child wants something but is finding it hard to express themselves or is having a tantrum over it, the best way to handle things would be to ask them if they could calm down and then ask for what they want.

This way helps them calm themselves down and ask for things in a much nicer way. Make sure to also remain calm since your child also knows if you’re agitated or frustrated, and it can cause them to stress out even more.


10. “Be respectful towards others, and respect yourself”

This phrase is a good way of making sure that your child behaves properly at all times.

When using this phrase, it’s important to be specific, such as saying “Be respectful of others when you’re at the playground, and make sure to respect yourself.”

That way, they can better absorb the lessons that you’re teaching and it’s easier for them to internalize good habits and behavior.


11. “Do your best to work as a team”

If your child has a habit of being bossy or telling other kids what to do when they’re playing, then you could use this phrase to encourage proper behaviour.

Using this phrase helps you communicate better with your toddler and encourages them to play well with others.


12. “Can you please ________?”

If your child is hard to discipline or is constantly not listening to what you’re saying, then you can use the phrase “Can you please ________?” instead of telling them to “Stop!” or saying “It’s not okay.”

This works since it’s not accusatory and you’re requesting something from your child instead of forcing them to do as you please.


13. “Don’t be afraid to cry”

If your child feels sad, don’t tell them to “stop crying” or tell them that “It’s bad to cry.”

Communicate better with your toddler by encouraging them to express themselves and reassure them that crying is normal and a healthy way of expressing any negative emotions that they might be feeling.


14. “How would you take care of it?”

Even if you’re the parent, it’s not always your job to fix each and every one of your child’s problems.

Sometimes it’s much better to ask your child about what they can do in order to resolve a problem they have instead of doing it for themselves.

This helps promote critical thinking as well as problem-solving skills, and also encourages your child to take charge and handle their own problems and concerns.


15. “Okay, I’ll stop and wait for you to finish”

Parents can be a little too controlling in some situations. Some parents can get very impatient when their child insists on doing something by themselves, and then does it wrong, or doesn’t do a good job.

In these situations, parents need to just calm down and let their kids make mistakes. Mistakes are an opportunity for your child to learn, and don’t deprive them of that opportunity by trying to do everything for your child.


16. “I love you, and that will never change”

If a child does something bad, or disobeys their parents, some parents tell their kids “I don’t love you anymore” or “No one wants to be with you if you’re bad.” Those don’t do anything except make your child feel unwanted and unloved.

A better way to go about things would be to reassure your child that you love them no matter what, but make sure to tell your child what they did wrong afterwards, and what behaviour you expect from them.


17. “I’m not okay with you doing that yet”

A lot of kids are in a hurry to grow up, and want to do things that older kids do. However, some of these things might not be safe for them to do, or can even put them at risk.

Instead of telling your child that they can’t do something, or that they’re not old enough, it’s better to tell them that you’re not okay with them doing it yet.

That way, you’re not telling them “no” outright, but instead you’re telling them to wait for the right time.


18. “Why don’t you decide for yourself?”

Using this phrase helps you empower your child and gives them control over their lives. It helps them feel that they’re the one calling the shots instead of constantly being told what to do.

That why this is a good way to communicate better with your toddler, since you’re putting them in control.


19. “I trust you, and I support you 100%”

Instead of telling your child that “I’ll take care of this” or any similar rescuing behaviour, it’s best to tell your child that you trust their decisions.

One important trait of successful people is that they’re independent and are confident in the decisions they make. Telling your child that you trust them and support their decisions helps reaffirm their independence and boosts their self-esteem.


20. “How do you feel?”

Instead of telling your child “Don’t be upset” it’s better to ask them how they feel since it helps them open up and understand their feelings better.

Validating your child’s emotions and feelings can help you communicate better with your toddler. It also helps your child become more comfortable and open when it comes to sharing things with you.


Originally published by theAsianparent Philippines