‘Yes’ is the most powerful message you can give to your children. Some things are direct requests.
Can we sleep outside?
Can we go see that horse?
Can we play Twister before bed?
Sometimes your child makes a decision to try something that is new, or seems interesting or worthwhile. You don’t need to say anything, then. You just stand back and watch….and sometimes, you fetch whatever they need to help complete their scheme.
‘Yes’ really means:
You are capable of making good decisions.
You can choose things based on what you find exciting or are curious about.
I trust you.
Sometimes it is a small yes. Sure, we can make cookies. We can pick up endless sticks and rocks while we walk. We can opt to skip going to gymnastics to stay home and all watch a movie together in my bed.
Often it’s bigger – and means having to stand back while they assess risk, solve problems, or get incredibly messy.
We are lucky in that we have lots of time. Nothing is so pressing that we cannot explore things along the way. We have lots of space to just be, to choose what to do as we go along. So that makes things easier for us, but not impossible for people with busier schedules, or school, or …well, whatever, really.
So try it. When your child asks to do something, or just goes ahead and does it – and your natural inclination is to say no or hurry them along – just pause. Do you have five minutes to let them do this thing? Are they safe? Then say yes.
Have that wild dance party in the kitchen. Watch them collect fifty conkers and spend ages ‘washing’ them in a stream. Laugh to yourself as they wear costumes out of the house.
And this is the most important part: look at their face. Really pay attention to those moments when a child is learning about joy, about passion, about curiosity.