Our kids will only be as socially responsible and emotionally aware as we teach them. Modeling vocabulary, like the words introduced in this 2 part monthly column, will help you take an active role in your child’s social and emotional development.
- Using more of something than is needed
- Causing something valuable to be wasted
Why teach it to a toddler?
The newest generation of girls and boys to grace this planet should be coached with “green” vocabulary from day one. After all, we don’t want to have to evacuate Earth and live in a giant spaceship while Wall-E cleans up the unusable land, right? Wasteful can kick off a kid-friendly conversation about how it is our social responsibility to care for the space in which we live. Children who learn wasteful may have an easier time understanding how their actions may leave a lasting impact. Introducing wasteful could be the start of a child taking steps toward self-regulation. Wasteful encourages toddlers consider what they are doing and how it affects the environment, versus parent-imposed, thought-restrictive limits, like telling a toddler “no”, “don’t”, or “put that back”.
Follow Your Little Leader: Using Teachable Moments
Well, to start, have you ever witnessed a potty-training toddler getting their own toilet paper? You turn your head for a split second, and half the roll is gone, with their little hand reaching out for more. Try a simple reminder, like, “I see there is a lot of toilet paper in your hand. Do you think that amount is wasteful?” Doing so sends a “green” message to the child while also holding them accountable for their actions.
Once a child gets a concrete example of wasteful, like with the toilet paper, it can be applied to abstract objects, like the amount of time or attention spent on something. It works wonders in our house to remind our daughter not to be wasteful of time. She tends to play around, finding every reason to stall during the bedtime routine. However, once we caution our girl that if she wants to read books before heading to sleep, she cannot be wasteful of time, her little twinkle toes step right into her pjs.
What’s Your Take?
Please share any examples how your family works to be less wasteful. If wasteful has helped your toddler in taking steps toward self-regulation, please let me know how it all started and how it is going.
If you missed the first part of this monthly series, please read:
More parenting links: