Communication with toddlers 101

It recently hit me. The realisation that I sometimes act like a military mum at home.

Vera, pick up your toys!

Vera, brush your teeth!

Vera, go to sleep now!

Hup, two, three, four, hup!

I sometimes secretly wish I could get her to drop 10 for me. Ahh, the unspoken thrills of a military mum.

I know I sound a bit smug, to think that I can wield this sort of power over my child. But guess what… I think I actually stop communicating with her when I go into this mode. I can even see her eyes glazing over, or switching attention to something else (anything for that matter). She may after some minutes comply with the instruction, but mostly when she catches mummy’s signature I-mean-business look.

But what do I mean when I say I stop communicating?

A close friend of mine recently shared with me what she picked up from a communications course. She shared that most of us are used to communicating as a means to an end — what we call task-oriented communication — as part and parcel of the busy lives we have grown accustomed to.

In the process of seeing communication as a means to get things done, we forget that communication, at its most basic, is all about loving and building relationships.

Particularly so in the home, and with our kids. If we only communicate when we need them to do something, and neglect that part of communication that is love-originated, and love-focused, can you imagine how our relationship with our children will be like?

Don’t get me wrong, I know rules and regulations have their place, that our kids need to learn obedience and to take on greater amounts of responsibilities as they grow. But in the midst of that, perhaps it’s good to call time-out everyday — just to love and to communicate out of that love.

No strings attached.

Unconditional love. Unconditional communication.Β Essentially, communication that is centred on the other person — my child. And usually, no words are required. More like a hug. Or two. Or just sitting beside her, watching her draw or fix a puzzle. That’s all I really need to do. The challenge is to be fully present, and I mean hundred percent, not multi-tasking or trying to reply whatsapp messages at the same time.

It’s hard, I know. Every fibre of my being screams out “I need to do ____ now, I can’t just sit here and not do anything!”

But it can be done. If we intentionally set aside time and energy to be fully available. It could even start with a few simple minutes a day, at a time when you feel most relaxed and unencumbered by your to-do list.

I don’t know about you, but the next time I’m tempted to do the military mum thing, I will come back to this quote.

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  1. says

    Although I try not to, I’m SO guilty of being a military mum!

    Well – not intentionally, I’m hardly an advocate of a regimented lifestyle for the bub, but I find myself having to stop, educate, stop, educate 20 million times a day. Perhaps it’s only my son, but he has a penchant of always doing what he isn’t supposed to, and pushing the boundaries.

    I’m so tempted to get this tee for him – just to remind myself to stop being so hard on him! πŸ˜€,118637819

  2. says

    Gosh, I can so relate to this post. I find myself doing this so often these days especially when the pressure of day to day gets to me πŸ™ Thanks for this reminder!

  3. Yvonne @Beadsyy's Diary says

    Thanks June for ur gentle reminder. I am as guilty of trying to multitask when Im with Allysa esp when I used to be SAHM. But Im being more conscious of my behaviour n body lang as I began to realise sm negative effects taking place (eg: her love for iphone). It’s really impt to juz spend time playing n give her my all.
    Wonderful post! πŸ™‚

    • says

      Thanks Yvonne! I think a few minutes of undivided attention can go very far, so I guess it’s about taking small steps every day, or at least that’s what I tell myself to aim for. πŸ™‚

  4. says

    Ooo I’m sooo guilty of the military mum! Cos im the only one she’s afraid of so I’m in the ‘you better behave yourself or you’ll get mama’s deathly eyes’ mode a lot! Timely reminder for me too πŸ™‚

  5. says

    Attention!! Haha, me too! I kinda felt this way when sonny was a young tot. I tend to Do something else while the boy roams around the house. That’s was one of the primary reason why I decided to have home activities with him. So that it forces me to just sit next to him, watch him or engage with him- 100%…no Internet, no phone. I learnt that when I spent just even 10minutes one on one with him, he behaves like an angel for the rest of the day. otherwise, a wild monkey will reign in my house!

    • says

      Thanks for that, homeschool@SG! That’s fantastic — 10 minutes of quality, non-interrupted time to start the day and you and your boy get to enjoy the rest of the 10+ hours of awake time! πŸ™‚

  6. says

    Oh, love this post! Sometimes it is just… easier… to tell the kids what to do! But I get a bit guilty when Jay pouts and tells me, “Mummmmmmmmy I want to talk….” when he feels he is not given enough time to share! Haha… I shall try to remember the quote the next time πŸ˜‰

    • says

      I know, it’s so much easier to order our little ones around. But yea, they’re little human beings with large emotions that they need to express too. Hmm, a bit like us eh? πŸ˜›

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