I talk a lot.
It is in my nature, I like to chat. I also like to talk to myself (in my head), which involves reliving embarrassing moments, worrying about work, worrying about family, worrying about whether I’ve paid the window cleaner.
Talking to myself is fine, I can manage that, and whilst it probably isn’t entirely helpful for my mental health, I’m in control.
So what is the problem?
The problem is when I talk too much to my daughter.
Yes, she has a decent vocabulary for a three year old, but she has also been bombarded by a rabbiting Mother who finds it hard to say things once (without explanation).
I’ve read many articles about the benefits of explaining and reasoning with a child, but I think I may have just taken it a little too far. Most of my questions are three or four questions rolled into one. Honestly.
“What would you like for breakfast? Would you like toast? How about some Ready Brek? Toast and marmite? Are you sure?”
The poor child barely has a chance to answer before I’m giving her more multiple choices. If I had just asked her what she wanted for breakfast, and left it for a few minutes, she would probably answer me with “toast with marmite and peanut butter please”.
I should accept that.
If it isn’t quite what I want to give her, then I shouldn’t have asked her what she wanted in the first place, I should have just told her what she was having.
Why do we give young children a choice and then try and change their mind?
I can understand why we do it to our husbands and partners – to make it seem like they have a choice before coercing them into our takeaway or film perference, which we had decided on well before asking them.
But for our children? To me, it isn’t fair and it is confusing for them.
Tomorrow I will make a conscious effort to ask one open question about their breakfast and about their day. I will answer the questions that they ask, with all the detail they want, but I will be quiet when they’re quiet and will give them a chance to answer me before asking another question. **
** Note: This will exclude ‘getting dressed’ and ‘getting pyjamas on’ activities, which may involve asking the same questions multiple times.