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3 Little Words that will Make Your Kids Smarter

Updated: May 5, 2020

I know three little words that can make your Kids smarter, more confident and more focussed. And that’s not even the best part!

These three little words can also make your life as a parent, teacher or caregiver easier and more fulfilling. And using them consistently can give you more time for you during the day.

A lot of people don’t know how to use these words effectively and they really don’t know what they’re missing in their relationships with their Kids.

Wanna know what they are? I bet you do! You're the ones who really care about the children you take care of. That's why you're here, right? OK Then this one is for you even though I know you already know this. My goal here is to remind you to use them or to use them more frequently if you already do. Ready? The three little words are……..

You did it!

Yep, that’s it. That’s all you have to say. Now, I’ll tell you in a nutshell how to use these 3 little words to help your Kids the most because I know that’s what you want for them!

  1. Notice them when they struggle. Then wait. Waiting is the hard part because we want to rush in and fix everything for them.

  2. Get busy. This is the tricky part. We naturally want to help and that’s good. The trouble is we often help too much. When they cry or ask for help, try saying, “Sure. I’ll help you as soon as I’m done taking out the trash. (or whatever fits)” This gives you both some time to figure out what to do. If they whine and keep asking, draw the line. See my post on whining for help with that one. For infants, just watch and wait while they struggle with minor skills such as grabbing their toes, rolling over or sitting up.

  3. When they get through their frustration and get it done celebrate their accomplishment with them by saying…….

You did it! You rolled over!

You did it! You got your shoe on all by yourself!

You did it! You caught the ball!

You did it! You poured your milk!

You did it! You crossed the street safely! Passed your algebra test! Made a friend!

If they try something and you find a way to let them struggle for a good while and they really do need some help, you can support their learning the best way possible by giving them the least amount of help they need to succeed.

Then you can say, “You did it! You tied the first part by yourself”

Or “You did it! You wrote your name with just a little bit of help from me on the “S”.

Or “You tried hard! You’re getting closer to your goal all the time!”

You’ll want to always remember that the effort they put into something is more important than the results. Notice when they get stuck and give them the tools they need to keep moving forward.

Break things down into small enough pieces for them to manage. Tell them, show them and then let them practice in their own ways. Try to keep your bloody hands off as much as you possibly can! This is how they begin to learn to problem solve. This is also how you begin to find time to open your mail, take a well deserved shower or trim your own nails. Two goals, one action. Poof! Magic!

Here’s a trick for helping Kids to learn to do puzzles. Puzzles tend to be a big source of frustration for lots of them.

When they want you to help them with a puzzle, put the piece in for them, explaining why or how you did it as you go. Then remove the piece and hand it back to them. Repeat. If the puzzle is the right level for them they’ll eventually try the piece again themselves. This shows the difference between doing it for them and helping them learn something on their own. Key!!

Believe me, after 40+ years of fooling around with these methods, I think I’ve figured out at least a few things. But hey, there’s always so much more to learn!

Speaking of learning, the methods I use everyday are melded into my own philosophy from many different sources but I’ve gotten the best of my learning from Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. Dr. Bailey has some amazing resources on her site both free and for sale. The Sophie books for toddlers and the Shubert books for preschoolers are a great place to start learning about conscious discipline because they very gently remind the child what to do but they also remind the parents and the teachers what to do. Amazingly helpful!

By the way, I haven’t struck a deal with Becky Bailey or anything, I just genuinely love her methods and have used them successfully for years.

Because I know that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, all of my posts are about taking care of children and/or taking care of the caregiver.

That’s YOU!

Thanks so much for all of the caring you do and for stopping by to read my blog today.

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