I'm a child development expert – the four annoying things your kids do that you should NEVER correct | The Sun

I'm a child development expert – the four annoying things your kids do that you should NEVER correct | The Sun

08/30/2022

AS parents, it's easy to try and correct your children when they're doing wrong.

But there are certain situations in which you actually shouldn't correct them – as it can end up hindering their development.

We spoke to child development expert Ruth Lue-Quee, founder of My Mummy Teacher, and asked for her input about those situations.

Leaving their meal unfinished

"Children follow natural body cues and know when they are full," Ruth explained.

"Generally, if they're hungry they will let you know and if they're not then forcing them to finish the food on their plate could cause poor eating habits.

"Regularly forcing them to eat more once they've communicated they don't want anymore can cause children to then over eat leading to weight concerns and an inability for them to be able to listen to their inner body's natural cues regarding feeling full and feeling hungry."

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It can also end up causing tension around food.

"Getting your child to eat more when they don't want to becomes a power struggle, which could lead to them associating food with negative feelings," she added.

Saying words incorrectly

"When children are learning to talk, develop their vocabulary and communicate effectively they will undoubtedly say words incorrectly, muddle up their grammar or say completely the wrong thing," Ruth said.

"As frustrating this could be for a parent, it's really important that we don't draw attention to this and make a big deal that they've said something incorrectly.

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"This is because you could be inadvertently preventing further speech development."

Instead, it's much better to "model back to the child how they could say it correctly, rather than pointing out what they've said wrong".

"Be a positive role model through the conversations you have with them, the stories you read and try to comment and expand upon their utterances instead of questioning or pointing out what's wrong," she added.

Pulling, dropping, throwing

While this might be frustrating for parents, "repetitive behaviours like this are a vital part of child development".

"These repetitive actions are called schemas and it's how they learn about the world around them," Ruth continued.

"Every repetition of an action is new learning for your child.

"This particular schema is called the trajectory schema and rather than correcting it, you can encourage your child to explore this schema in a different way such as giving them bags of small, soft balls to throw or sensory scarves to pull out of a box."

Ruth sells playful learning products to help babies and children learn through play on her My Mummy Teacher website, with the Learning Through Play Cards a perfect option if you want to explore schema play.

Fidgeting

"Children and adults don't fidget for no reason," Ruth said.

"We fidget when something is 'not quite right'. We could be anxious, excited, self-regulating or sensory processing according to the environment around us."

As adults, we can "adapt the environment around us to suit our needs".

For example, if we're hot we can open the window, if we're struggling to concentrate we can go and get some fresh air.

"However, our children are still learning to develop this skill and therefore may fidget in a way that appears really annoying to the parent," Ruth continued.

"If it's an inappropriate time for them to do something, or if doing that action means they are unsafe then I would redirect the urge.

"For example – if a child is head banging the floor, give them a cushion to bang instead or if your child is displaying they need some sensory feedback give them something heavy to push such as a laundry basket full of clothes and items.

"However, if they are safe and simply self-regulating / fidgeting in a way that feels good to them, I would absolutely not correct or try and get them to stop this."

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Ruth is an Educational & Inclusion Consultant, and the founder of My Mummy Teacher.

She documents her work on her social media pages, including Facebook and Instagram.

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