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Expectations for young children can be as bad as they are good

Children will live up to or down to the expectations you have for them. It’s important when you talk to or about your child to be mindful of what you are saying. If a child hears that they are a brat or they are wild and out of control then they are more likely to behave that way. Here are some things to think about when talking to your child.

What do you expect from your child?
What do you expect from your child?
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Baby talk- If you talk baby talk to your child they will talk baby talk back to you. Children learn how to talk and communicate by example. Even before babies learn to start saying their first words they are learning how communication works from how people around them interact with them. So when they do start talking, help them understand how to talk appropriately by using smaller words but in a normal tone.

Positive comments-For every one negative comment that is said to a child they need to hear 5-6 positive comments. Encourage children to do their best, not every child will have the same abilities. Keep in mind even if you aren’t talking to them they can still hear what you are saying. It is easier for people to believe negative comments then it is to believe positive ones. “What Messages are Your Expectations Sending to Your Children?” in Huff Post Parents also talks about how your expectations affect your children.

Communicate- Let your child know what you want from them. How you want them to talk, behave, and how you want them to try their best. When talking to a child you want to give them a couple of seconds to process what you are telling them. If you give them too much information at once they won’t understand. Think of a computer, if you keep hitting the enter key and it’s not responding you will lock up the computer. The same kind of thing will happen to your child. If you give them too much information they will shut down and stop listening.

Eye contact- When you communicate with other adults you make eye contact, that way you know the other person understands what you are saying. The same is true when talking to a child. Get down on their level and make eye contact so that you know they are paying attention and understanding what you are telling them.

Be Consistent- Make sure that if you tell your child that a behavior isn’t okay, when they do that behavior you stop them every time. If you only stop it once in a while they will get confused because what you say and what you do is not the same thing. Young children will try the same behavior over and over again to see if you do the same thing. Just like everything else they learn this too will take practice.

What you expect from your child shows in your behavior as well as words. Model what you want from your child. Remember when setting expectations for your child to make them high enough that they will help your child grow but not too high that your child can’t reach them. You want to encourage them not set them up for failure.