Here are three questions we should never ask our children.
1. Do you want to take a nap?
Why set yourself for rejection by asking this question? How many children do you know will willingly say, "Yes mommy please, I really need a nap". Not many that I know! I truly believe a nap for children under the age of 5 is extremely essential! An article on napping I read by Donna Freiner said that "Children who nap have longer attention spans and are less irritable." It gives them a time to be still for an hour or two during the day. This time can be used for napping or just for quiet time where mommy, daddy or child care provider isn't required for entertainment. I hear so many parents say, "How do you get your child to still take naps?" and I think to myself, "How can I not." This quiet time is as much for me as it is for my child.
It's never too late to start. I've done a little bit of daycare and I told their moms that their child would be taking a little quiet time. Some of their reactions were, "Good Luck with that!" But with a little persistence and consistency, after a couple days they have all welcomed a little down time. It's all in the way you approach it. I try to keep the time of naps at about the same time of day, and then we always be sure they are ready. Get a drink, go to the bathroom, and then let them choose one or two books to read during quiet time. I always read at least one and then I remind them that this is time for their bodies to rest and they need to stay in their room, or on the couch, until quiet time is over. Guess who gets to decide how long nap time is, YOU DO! Isn't that great! I have a minimum time of an hour. If they come out before the hour, I quietly remind them that it's still quiet time and to take them back and say, I will come and get you when it's time. If they keep coming out, then I say, Oh each time you come and see if quiet time is over, you will have a longer quiet time. TV time or a movie time does not qualify as quiet time. This does not quiet the child's mind, it only stimulates. So if you think, I'll just turn this movie on so my child will stay in place for a while, I really don't think that will do any good for them, so be strong and set some quiet time rules and stick with it. You will be so happy that you did and so will your child!
You could apply this question to anything your want your child to do that they probably don't want to do. Just word it differently. Would you like peas or carrots? Would you like your dessert? Great then eat your vegetables. Research is showing that if you serve vegetables and fruits first in the meal, your child will eat more of them. I would even say don't give your child the main dish until they have finished their vegetables first. I've done this with my own child and it really works. I just need to be more consistent with it.
3. How was your day?
Now if your child is a girl and loves to talk this is probably a great question. But I usually get this answer when I ask this question. "Fine" So I've started asking more specific questions, like: "How did your history test go today?" "What was the best thing that happened today?" "Did you have PE today? What did you do?"
Sometimes I have to take a step back and listen to questions I'm asking my children. Sometimes I'm setting myself up to get a negative response. Listen to yourself this week, how can you word things to make your life easier and your child's life happier.