Our young children need a ‘YES ENVIRONMENT’. This is not to say they need unlimited freedom from boundaries and responsibilities.
What this means is they need to spend time in spaces that allow them to explore, discover and follow their inner urges without coming up against constant barriers and “no”.
Life isn't easy
People often joke about how easy life is for children but if we think about how little autonomy they have we realise it's not so easy.
There is so much out of a young child's control.
There are so many rules and expectations to act a certain way, and sometimes very little consideration for what is age appropriate for them. We wouldn't enjoy all our spontaneous expressions being shut down, and neither do children.
A 'yes' environment
A 'yes' environment means we recognise what it is our children need, and we prepare an environment that allows for it.
We remove obstacles so they can be safe and free to explore, touch the objects within their reach and carry out the sorts of play that young children are drawn to - gathering, transporting, constructing, deconstructing, throwing to name a few.
These yeses tell our children we value them, their voice and their choices.
'Yes' environments aren't just at home. We need to think about what outings are appropriate for the age, and personality of our child.
A cafe doesn't hold many yeses for a newly walking toddler, but a big grassy field with a takeaway coffee has endless possibilities.
A listening to stories library session may ‘put the lid’ on a very boisterous child, where as an active and free play gym session let's them spread their wings.
Children and our relationships with them are strengthened when we go with ‘what is’, rather than trying to change who they are.
Yes for them is yes for us!
Removing “no” from our vocab is not enough. Even the kindest “Sweetheart, please leave it", or “that's Mama's one, not for you" are just no in fancy clothing.
Days are so full of "no" for our wee ones if we haven't taken the time to consider the spaces they're spending their time in.
"Yes" is not just refreshing for them, but for us too.
A suitable environment means we can drop our hyper alert status, engage or just observe our child, rather than being ready to pounce, to save objects and offer up apologies to others.
"Yes" is freeing, empowering and enjoyable for all. Let's give more of it!