To my great delight and sometimes great pain, we have two highly articulate sons. Delight because they can and do communicate well :); pain because they can and do communicate well. 😉 The third is yet to speak, but judging by the intensity of his gestures and Power Tantrums (albeit usually short) he is destined to be the same.
One of the keys, and one reason I chose just-managing-to-get-by-on-one-income over paid work at the moment is that the conversations small children have with their main-caregiver are very, very important for developing a wide vocabulary. (Another reason for no electronics!) No or little conversation = kids who can’t communicate and struggle to read and write. I’m also very big on emotional intelligence, and that takes time to instill. One of the keys to that is being able to name our emotions.
In the early days of speaking I provide the language – depending on their body-language…that’s frustrating,
I love you too
and so on. But once they can do it themselves, they do it themselves. (Nothing more annoying than someone else trying to tell you how you feel!) I also want them to differentiate between mischief and naughtiness, anger and just being a bit cross. To me cross seems a bit of a silly word, but it works for those times when, well, we’re a bit cross. We also have a great rule of three:
Yesterday at the dinner table the Hare farted. He went pink in the face and choked back his laughter, but he just couldn’t do it. The Owl was already hooting and Craig and I were grinning. It was funny, because it’s unusual we’re (VERY) big on manners, and well…it was just funny. But then he tried to force one out. The reaction from us was now a frown, but the Owl still thought he was hilarious. Then, because Hares are great at pushing boundaries, he made a fart noise with his mouth and was sent to his room to calm down and find his manners. He had broken the rule of three:
First time: Funny.
Second Time: Silly.
Third Time: Naughty.
Things, which we wouldn’t usually accept as parents, do happen from time to time. And often they are hilarious. And children need to know when to stop. Hares are not very good at stopping. (Actually, they’re damned hard work – gorgeous little blighters that they are.) So this has worked well for us – they still get the fun bit, but also the lesson.
Mischief is the same. Children are mischievious. That’s normal and natural, and it’s also important that they know the difference between mischief…licking a little icing from the edge of the cake… and naughtiness…eating a huge chunk just before the evening meal. Being able to tell the difference between words, which are similar like naughty and mischievous, is a sign children will do well at school. Often they’re considered intelligent.
Intelligence is often defined as the way we make finer and finer distinctions within a group. First toddlers say all animals are cows; then all cows; bulls, calves, steers, heifers etc are called cows; eventually they might be able to tell the difference between Friesian, Jersey, Charolais and so on. Increasing our Emotional Intelligence, by default, means the degree that we can make finer and finer differentiations between our emotions, as we feel them: angry, sad and happy become: angry, cross, furious, annoyed, choleric, exasperated, sad, melancholic, distraught, sombre, wistful, happy, excited, joyful, ecstatic, delighted, content…
Maturity is the old-fashioned word for Emotional Intelligence, and I’m aiming to have children more mature than myself. (So far, so good.)
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