One of the best things I have done this year in terms of parenting is join an ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) class with Emmett. I have learned SO much about parenting, the mind of a two year old, and how crucial we (us mommas--and dads too) are to our child’s development.
While I could talk at length about all of the things I have learned, the one lesson I was most surprised about was the lesson on the word “Careful.”
We currently live in a society of “Careful.”
“Be careful while climbing on the playground”
“Be careful with your sister”
“Be careful with the ball”
If you are reading this, I challenge you to listen for how often you say it during the day. It can be shocking. When I was given this challenge, I didn’t think I said it often only to discover I was saying it ALL. THE. TIME.
Now, why should we avoid this word?
Saying “be careful” all the time to our children can create a “careful” child, a “careful” teen, and a “careful” adult. A child who is anxiously weighing out every decision, every action. A child who is scared to take risks, scared to try because they might get hurt. A child who worries all the time.
I don’t know about you but I want my littles to take chances, to take risks, to have a “growth mindset.” A mindset where they can make a decision, set a goal, make mistakes, and try with all their might to achieve it.
However, it is still our job as mommas (and dads), to keep our children safe. So, what do you say instead of “Be careful”?
You get specific!
“Use your eyes while you climb on the playground”
“Your sister is a baby, you need to be gentle”
“If the ball rolls into the street, you need to stop and get an adult”
It is all about giving them specific guidance with whatever you want them to “be careful” with. I know with Emmett, I have started to say things like:
“If you run down the driveway, you could trip and get hurt”
“Watch where you’re walking so you don’t run into something”
I know that my littles are going to learn by MAKING MISTAKES…it is my job to guide them, but allow them the room to make those mistakes. If we are constantly telling them to be careful, it won’t allow them the space to commit an error, to learn that if they run without looking, they will likely get hurt.
While I have not been able to eradicate the word “careful” from my vocabulary, I know that I don’t say it often and I am learning to let my littles learn through their mistakes in a safe space.