give them words

I have three kids. When my youngest was born, my middle child, who was 2, was often very grumpy. I had a strong suspicion that the arrival of a new baby was the source, but each time I raised it, he walked away or said, “that’s not it!” Finally, I approached him and said, “I know your sister needs a lot of my time right now. When you feel like you need some Mommy time, you just come over and say, ‘I need some Mommy time,’ and I’ll give it to you”. His expression didn’t change, he was still grumpy. Two days later, I was at the sink and I felt a tug on my pants. My son pulled me down and whispered in my ear, “I need some Mommy time.”

By giving them words, very specific words that they can use (not only generalizations of how they might feel), we can help our kids identify and articulate their needs. –n

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