But those annoying phrases you love to hate can be a sign of something good – read on to find out more.
Some annoying things kids say can actually be a good thing[/caption]
Fabulous spoke with parenting and behavioural consultant Sophie Boucher-Giles, who founded the Gentle Start Family Consultancy.
She revealed what those common phrases and sayings really mean, and what parents should be doing when they hear them.
If your child says… ‘It’s not fair!’
As annoying as it might be, hearing this from your child could provide the opportunity for learning.
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Sophie says: “The temptation here is to respond with an instinctive ‘the world’s not fair’, but instead, try to take a moment and find out more.
“Turn things into a learning and listening experience, and at the very least, this is such a pain for the child to discuss at length, that they stop and find something else to do.”
A good response to your child’s remarks could be ‘why do you think so?’ or ‘what happened? How do you think we might be able to make it fair for everyone?’
“The key here is that it needs to be equal, as ‘not fair’ is often about one child having more of something than their sibling,” she explains.
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“The most important way you can impart this is to put the child that thinks it’s not fair, in charge of the sharing.
“Supervise them in sharing out the sweets into equal piles, or cutting the cake, but then, and this is the important bit, they get to choose their portion last.
“This way if they furtively try to make their slice a bit larger, or secretly add another sweet or two to ‘their’ pile, the other child will be the one who picks that slice so they might get left with the smallest share.”
Having learned the hard way, doing this creates an incentive to share equally.
If your child asks… ‘Why?’
The Wh- questions can feel endless with an under 5-year-old. What, where, when, why… and as parents, we don’t always know the answers.
But asking these questions shows an inquisitive mind and they’re important for a child, Sophie says.
“‘Why’ questions are important developmentally as a child explores and tries to understand their environment and the wider world, and it’s a good thing that you are the trusted (patient?) adult your child feels comfortable asking,” she explains,
“If you aren’t sure of the answer, or it leads to a million other questions, then now is a good time to help your child to understand the value of research.
“Putting some effort in will usually terminate the loop if your child was just bored, so ban the easy out of asking Alexa, and have your child type the question into Google.
“If they aren’t quite there yet, ask them to sound out the letters for the words you are typing in yourself, and how to phrase it.”
If your child asks… ‘Are we nearly there yet?’
If road trips are common for your family, you might have heard this one more times than you’d like.
But Sophie points out this is “a boredom phase,” so make sure kids have plenty to do.
You could use this as a chance to bond as a family by playing fun activities or allowing your kids to learn something new.
“If they are older, you can print out a sequence of road signs or landmarks for them to look out for on the route so they can chart their own progress, or show them google maps so they have a journey tracker,” she says.
“Or to help pass the time in a measured way, have a reward on hand for everyone when one child spots something – sometimes easy, like a red car, sometimes harder, like a cow.”
Children can’t manage long trips as well as adults, and have more urgent bladder needs, Sophie explains. So plan rest stops along the way for long journeys.
If your child always asks… ‘Where’s my…?
Use this as an opportunity to teach your children about responsibility but also, but remember, it’s just a part of being a child.
There are some ways to help them with this though and it means being able to find their own things withour your constant help.
“Apart from the obvious getting your child to retrace their steps, and having specific, obvious, homes for certain items, consider having a ‘Stuff Box’ for each child by the front door,” Sophie suggests.
“This is just a large plastic or wooden box with their name on it and you can get them invested by allowing them decorate it how they want.” Think stickers, chalk paint, glitter and poms poms.
The idea is simple. When they come in from nursery or school, all their things go in the box – coat, shoes, book bag, gym kit, water bottle etc. – ready for the morning.
For really expensive items Sophie says to consider AirTags so you can track them.
“But be aware of the personal safety issues involved and make sure you have used the appropriate features,” she warns.
If your child says… ‘I’m bored’
A common response might be “Only boring people get bored,” but Sophie says to avoid saying this to your kids
“Instead look at why your child is bored,” she says.
Perhaps they’re trying to procrastinate and avoid something, like homework, or maybe you’ve been pre-occupied for a long timeand they’re craving your attention.
Either of these options are a sign you need to spend more time with them, so it’s not always a bad thing if you hear them say ‘I’m bored.’
“Even if you are quite busy try to give them a quick blast of at least 5 minutes focused time where you get down on the floor with them perhaps and do a shared activity, keeping your body and face quite close so that they feel you are really engaged,” says Sophie.
“If you can’t do this immediately, give them a tangible cue as to when you will be able to e.g. ‘when I have finished my email, as soon as you see me finish typing, we can…’”.
This is also a sign that your child needs o get outdoors which is important for all kids.
“Consider having an anti-boredom activity box indoors and out full of cheap toys and activities that they can be sent to pick from,” Sophie suggests.
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“Charity shops and pound stores are good places for this, or hide away untouched toys and rotate them.
“Have safe craft stuff in a box that will keep them engaged for more than a minute, including playdoh etc.”
Boredom is common in children but it could be sign of something more[/caption]