Wednesday, November 08, 2006

what should I do if my 2-year-old child ignores me?

"for every paragraph you were planning to say, substitute a sentence

for every sentence, substitute a word

for every word, substitute an action."

[copyright a wise friend of mine]

I wouldn't try to communicate verbally with a child this small about how they just spilled water and whether they should be clearing it up. I would just start tidying up (the first time a child helps their parent clear up, of their own accord, could be a really magical one - why spoil it with trying to make it happen for months before the child is ready?)

And I would find ways of tweaking the environment so that things which trigger a parent to fury don't happen often. So...

water in a sippy cup (great for spraying out of mouth, and just evaporates)?

milk in the bath or outside or in a room with tile/wooden/lino floor?

cover the carpet with old sheets or those cheap waterproof camping table cloths (good for spaghetti bolognaise nights too... )

I try to minimise the triggers by tweaking the environment in this sort of way.

If making a connection with the child is the thing bothering the parent, it might help to find time to connect through eye contact and hugs and perhaps reading a book together or having a conversation, either at the beginning of the day or just before sleeping. But in the middle of a busy day? Interrupting what they are doing to ask them to help clean up spilled water? When there's a universe to make sense of?

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