Don't Ask and Don't Tell

I am currently working on being more clear in my directions to Elizabeth.  I try to remember my target audience when I am talking to her.  The thing I am having the most trouble with lately is when to ask her something and when to tell her something.

I mean, that sounds logical.  I ask her which snack she’d like and I tell her when it is time to go to bed.  I’m not talking about the actual directions I am giving her, I am talking about how I word them.  When you talk to other adults, often you word things as questions when they are actually more like statements.  Like “are you ready to go?”  An adult will understand that you mean it is time to leave.  But a toddler will say “no.”

My biggest challenge is that I tend to tack on “okay?” as a question to the end of my statements.  “Elizabeth, in five minutes, we are going to go up for your bath, okay?”  I suppose that a creature with logic would realize that I am really checking to see if she heard me and understands, but Elizabeth seems to think that I am actually asking her if that is okay with her.  And no, it’s not okay with her, she’d rather keep playing with her toys, thank you very much Mama Lady.

So my new goal is to try to actually ask questions and state statements.  I’ve gotten a little better at this since I remembered to do it.  And when I tell her something like “bedtime in five minutes” and she says “no”, I do not answer her back.  I realized when I answered her no with a “yes, bedtime in five minutes”, it seemed to her like she had the option to continue arguing with me (and she did continue arguing with me).  When I don’t respond to a “no” when I haven’t asked her something, she doesn’t keep arguing and goes off to bed in five minutes.  (Because, you know, she’s still little enough for me to pick up and carry up the stairs.)  It’s just me trying to make her more aware of when her input is welcomed and when she doesn’t get to negotiate.