If vs. When

Every day at my RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ class, we have Snack Time. Snack Time follows a unique rhythm and comes with certain expectations. It’s a great opportunity for children to grasp the concept of structure and clear limits, and for parents to observe how they can guide their toddlers.

Firstly, I inform the children that we will soon be enjoying bananas. I move and prepare for Snack Time in a deliberate, slow manner, allowing the children time to process this information. Once the children are seated, I assist them in washing their hands with a wet cloth. Parents, with the best intentions, may sometimes say, “If you don’t wash your hands, you won’t have bananas.” In addition, I have a different expectation – for everyone to be seated while eating. So, it’s common for me to hear parents say, “If you don’t sit, Teacher Kira will not give you the banana.”

Parents express that they’re trying to bring some order to our meal, conveying it very gently without a threatening tone. Yet, I propose a subtle change from “if” to “when.”

Consider these two requests – which one would you be more inclined to follow?

“If you don’t sit, you will not get the bananas.”
“When you are seated, I can offer you bananas.”

The second one immediately opens my heart to cooperation. So, the next time you make a request, choose your words wisely. Another benefit of shifting from “if” to “when” is that it helps us adopt slightly different attitudes and energy about the entire situation.

Enjoy your connection with your child and the positive energy surrounding your everyday routine. Small, tiny changes will contribute to the strength of your relationship.

Let me know if you need more information about RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Classes.

Wishing you all the best in this difficult yet exciting journey of parenting!

Warmly,

Teacher Kira

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Parent-Infant Guidance™

Visit us at www.RIEpasadena.org or contact Melissa Coyne at melissa.coyne@rie.org

or call me (626) 241-2419
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Facilitated by a RIE® Associate, small groups of parents and babies come together in a relaxing, infant-friendly environment to make friends and enjoy learning together.

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