I’m a nursery worker and these are the words we never say to kids

Once children go to nursery, parents often feel like their little ones are growing up. 

But kids still have lots of learning to do it – and nursery influences a lot of what they pick up. 

A study of nursery workers by daynurseries.co.uk determined that the overwhelming majority of childcare providers no longer use the naughty step as a tool of discipline, because of its “negative connotations”. 

Plus, 95% of nursery workers reported that they weren’t even allowed to call a child naughty any more.

A nursery founder has revealed the eight phrases she never says to kids – and she said there is no room for negativity. 

Sharon Birch, the owner and founder of Footprints Learning for Life nursery in Hartlepool, said her nursery is responsible for enhancing children’s self-esteem and confidence. 

She said: “As early educators, we need to provide a positive environment in which children will thrive and be the best they can be. 

“No one day is ever the same! I meet lots of families from all walks of life, the kids are so happy to see us and we provide a stimulating, safe and caring environment to ensure they are safe, challenged and extremely well cared for. 

“It’s amazing to see the wonder on childrens’ faces as they discover something for the first time.”

Sharon explained nursery workers' jon is being a role model and people that work in nurseries, influence children in everything they do. 

She said there is no room for negativity as children are sponges and they repeat or mimic.

The founder added: “Positive reinforcement, having a safe place, and a culture of support and trust is essential.

“Many children swear at nursery and too often parents will say, ‘I don’t know where they b****y heard that from!’ Or we hear, ‘my mam eats chocolate before my dad gets in, but we can’t tell him.’

“Children often role play and will pretend to drink wine or beer, smack the dollies, or worse, and we can often pick up on quirky family habits by what the children say and do. 

“One child brought lube into the nursery and told us it was mammy’s hand gel!”

Sharon revealed her top eight phrases nursery workers never say to kids…

'YOU'RE NAUGHTY, SILLY OR STUPID'

If you tell a child they are something they will often become it, act it, believe it. 

So Sharon said she would never call a child naughty, silly or stupid at nursery. 

She said this is because it can become a core belief and a child labelled as naughty, can become a naughty child. 

The expert explained the words also lower self-esteem and send a negative message.

‘DON’T CRY!’

Sharon pointed out that nursery workers never tell children, ‘don’t cry.’

This is because they are teaching that it is all right to cry and everyone should cry if they need to. 

The expert said: “Children should be taught how to express emotions and handle their feelings honestly and openly.” 

“If they need to cry, that’s fine and as they grow they will understand it’s normal and leads to  better mental health.”

‘JUST WAIT UNTIL YOUR MUM/DAD GETS HERE!’ 

Sharon also explained that nursery workers shouldn’t say, ‘just wait until your mum or dad gets here’ to a child.

This is because behaviour should be dealt with at the time it occurs as young children don’t understand the concept of waiting to be ‘told off’. 

The owner of Footprints Learning for Life explained: “Positive behaviour management strategies are essential in addressing things in the moment. 

“The threat of telling parents can create anxiety, apprehensiveness and fear of the people that are the most important in their lives.”

'LET'S KEEP IT A SECRET'

Nursery workers never tell a child to keep a secret, added Sharon.

There are better ways to explain  ‘good’ secrets such as a surprise party, or a pregnancy, and it’s important to explore the concept of ‘surprises’ rather than secrets. 

It’s important for children to understand confidentiality in an age appropriate way. 

She said: “A surprise ends in a positive outcome. It is important they understand this from an early age.”

‘I’LL DO IT FOR YOU’

Sharon said she would never say, ‘I’ll do it for you’, to a child at nursery.

She said this is because children will never learn if you don’t let them try for themselves. 

Having this mindset teaches them ‘I can do it better than you’ so let them try. 

The expert shared: “Helping them to achieve is much better than doing it for them. The sense of achievement a child has when they do something themselves is empowering.”

'I'll CALL THE POLICE'

Often as a joke an adult may threaten a child with the police and pretend to call them to come and arrest them if they are misbehaving. 

But this is something parents or nursery workers should never do as children will never go to the police if they are scared or need help if they are in fear of them. 

A negative attitude to the police can instil a fear that can last for years, explained Sharon. 

‘THAT’S ONLY FOR BOYS (OR) GIRLS’

Nursery workers never say to kids that a toy or an activity is only for boys or girls.

Sharon said: “There are no boy activities or girl activities, all children should have access to all opportunities. 

“Limiting children’s choices pigeonholes them into certain behaviour patterns and into gender stereotypes.

“It reinforces how they should behave and act and if they don’t, then society says it’s wrong.”

Instead, Sharon said young children don’t have those barriers or boundaries and nursery workers should allow all children free will and expression in activities and creativity.

‘YOU CAN’T DO THAT!’

Another thing nursery workers try not to say to children is, ‘you can’t do that.’

This is because if a child wants to achieve something, however big or small, they should encourage and help them. 

If kids are told they can’t do something, they either never will or put off doing it for a long time. 

Sharon said: “We need to give children opportunities so they can try, and the message is, if you don’t try you won’t succeed. If we tell them they can’t, then they won’t. If we tell them they can, they will.

“The takeaway is that it’s important to think before you speak. 

“Children are curious and soak up everything around them and in a world of influencers, we are in fact, their greatest influence!”

Elsewhere, a woman shares how she’s a stay at home mum at 22 but loves it because she is gifted designer bags by her husband 

Plus, a kids sleep expert has revealed how to ensure that kids get a good night’s sleep – it’s as simple as beating nightmares. 

And a professional cleaner shares her £2 must-have product & how to use it to clean everything from the loo to the dishwasher.

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