top of page

Forget Saying 'Don't Do That!' To Your Kids; Try Asking Them This Instead

🤔 "What’s your plan?'

❓I love this question.

✔️ And use it in my home life with my children.

👏🏽 I got it from a graphic signed ‘Crunchy Mama’ (I couldn’t find the page but will link to the page/author when I do inshaAllah)

🧐 Kids are curious, and while we may need to remind them of what they can and cannot do, especially when it comes to safety…

…It’s also important to give space and time to their exploratory nature. (As much as we can!)

If you’re anything like me, you may, at times, find yourself saying ‘don’t do that’ or some variation of that more than you’d like to.

Now…there’s nothing particularly wrong with a situation appropriate ‘please don’t do that’.

It’s more that, at times, it can happen when we’re not regulated ourselves, or are a bit on edge, or sleepy… 🥱

Or we wanna get the day over with or just have stuff going on (because, hello life! And hello parenting!)...

…well, in those situations, we can get into 'don’t do that!'…on loop 😗 (I’ve had those moments)

🤔 What’s an alternative to a knee-jerk ‘don’t do that’, though?

Enter….. “What’s your plan?” ✅

All right…imagine with me…

…A kid might have a ball and point it upwards…you’re concerned he might throw it somewhere that perhaps doesn’t work indoors or doesn’t work in some other way for you…

…If he’s not about to lunge it and there’s space in his action, you may consider pausing and saying….

✅ “What’s your plan with that ball, hun?"

Child may respond “I was just moving it around” (they don’t always do what we think they’re gonna do…hence why the curious ‘what’s your plan' helps).

This way, as well, with ‘what’s your plan?’ if they say “I’m gonna throw it”, you can then say “please don’t do that”...

…Or even better “the ball’s not for throwing inside; we can take it outside tomorrow so you can throw iA."

So if our child is about to do something, and there’s space, time and safety in what they’re about to do (i.e. there isn’t urgency in the action…and we’d be surprised…there often isn’t)…

…We can ask “what’s your plan?” and consider their response….we may still need to redirect, but I’d say it would most likely feel better for both our us and our child.

…And I say it’d more likely feel better for us because…in pausing and choosing our response, there’s likely more inner peace. More emotional regulation.

However, when we’re internally on autopilot, and automatically react, it doesn’t feel good for us either…am I right? Yes, I’ve been there! And still visit there from time to time…I just don’t wanna live there regularly! You too?)

Of course, if the scenario is about safety or is fast paced etc, by all means telling them to stop - or helping them stop by intervening in a safe way is necessary...

Often enough, though, there is space and context for a kind and curious:

‘[Insert child’s name], what’s your plan with that?"



And remember as you parent, that it's not practice makes perfect, it's practice makes progress.
3 views0 comments
bottom of page