Today my little one really surprised me. We were going for a walk, well a ride – he rode his scooter bike and I walked/rode my bicycle. He stopped and examined the large leaves and picked one up to take with him. He stopped every time some one walked or rode pass him and waited for them to pass. He shrieked in delight at the butterflies and the “Ucks” (ducks). And then he would ride furiously again. And then he would get incredible distracted and side-tracked moment to moment.
At one point I needed him to park his bike and put him onto his seat on my bicycle so we could go on the busy road. He didn’t want to and sat on his bike moving away up the other path. And when I asked him to come and park he would say “Nooooo” and scrunch up his nose and shake his head.
So eventually after waiting a fair bit, I got off my bicycle and went to him. I knelt down in front of him at his height and said very gently, while looking into his eyes, that I really need him to park his bike because it is not safe to take it out on the road. And I know he really wants to ride it but we can ride when we get back. So please will he park it nicely and come on my bicycle with me.
And he turned around, took his bike with him and parked it perfectly between the other motorbikes and happily got on my bicycle.
I had successfully averted forcing him, bribing him, just picking him up and just putting him on my bike with him crying…I was quite impressed with his level of understanding and communication.
I realised how valuable this way of communicating is and was so grateful to have come across this! It became so evident to me that we can speak to our children with respect and understanding, without expecting them to know what and why we are thinking and to just obey, that they have will and motives and feelings too and if we acknowledge them and explain things – even from so young, it goes far further.
I mean it could have been a situation where I picked him up, pulled him off his bike, put the bike in a corner and moved on with him crying for a bit and then settling down. But it wasn’t. We were both happy and respected.