Positive Language - Tuesday's Little Tip

Try using positive language when directing your child or student on what you want them to do. By telling them what to do instead of what not to do, your child or student has a clear expectation of what is expected of them.

What are positive statements and why are they important to use? When directing your child or student try telling them what to do instead of what not to do. If you always tell a child what not to do then you aren't teaching them what the correct behavior is instead. Our job as educators and parents is to not only correct inappropriate behavior, but also teach the expected behavior. We can start doing this by changing the language we are using.

We often assume the child knows what we want them to do, but if we don't tell them it leaves room for interpretation or error. Let's stop assuming they can read our minds and tell them directly what is expected of them.


If my son is running with a lollipop in his mouth and I tell him to stop running, he could follow my direction of not running, but still, be doing something unsafe. Let’s say he stops running but starts skipping or jumping. The point of him not running is because I don’t want him to choke on the lollipop. Instead of telling him to stop running, I should tell him what I want him to do instead. I should say, "You need to sit down when you are eating a lollipop."

By telling your child or student exactly what is expected of them it also allows you to teach the appropriate replacement behavior.

Here are a few examples:

Change is hard, but if you can catch how you are talking to your child or student, over time it will become a habit.

That's your little tip for today. Until next time!

Educating Early