Soleil Steffes

Spoonful of sugar in Langford

Langford’s modern-day Mary Poppins says the secret to raising happy kids is to stop saying “no.”

Langford’s modern-day Mary Poppins says the secret to raising happy kids is to stop saying “no.”

Sarah-Jane West started out as a British nanny more than 25 years ago tending to children with ties to the Royal Family.

Now she works as a nanny in Langford and is hosting two seminars next week to share her secrets.

“Toddlers are a particularly difficult age, they don’t have the emotional stability,” West said explaining the word “no” can damage a child emotionally and cause their self-esteem to spiral down.

She also insists saying “you” singles out the child and to say “we” instead.

For example, if a child is fiddling with an electrical socket, instead of saying “No! Don’t do that,” West would say, “We don’t play with that. It’s not a toy.”

“Parents need to change their language and save (no) for emergencies,” West said, explaining a sharp “no” could be used when a child runs in the road.

When West said “No” to a little girl she’s nannying in Langford, “She stopped right in her tracks because I never say that word.”

West began training to be a nanny in Britain in the late 1960s, and now bills herself as a “genuine Mary Poppins,” after the classic 1964 film.

Instead of telling a child what not to do, West simply explains what they can do.

If a child is kicking a table, she will redirect them to kick a soccer ball.

“You are not stopping the child from doing what he’s doing, you are changing what he’s doing,” West said.

The technique, which West has used for years, has its place says an expert in children’s behaviour who works in Greater Victoria.

“I wouldn’t say that saying ‘no’ is harmful, but I would advise to not have that as your main strategy,” said Kim Ceurstemont, who holds a PhD in child clinical psychology.

Saying “no” and being overly negative isn’t the best idea, she says. But children do need limits.

“Boundaries are extremely important,” Ceurstemont explains. “But, being too negative can be destructive to the relationship between the parent and child.”

A parent who has trouble saying “no” is simply a permissive parent, while choosing redirection is a good thing.

“Children have so many needs and we can’t say no to them without knowing the needs before hand,”

Ceurstemont said.

One suggestion Ceurstemont makes is to ignore certain behaviours instead of saying “no.”

She suggests ignoring irritating behaviour such as whining, but says to never ignore aggressive behaviour.

For parents who want to learn more about West’s strategy, her seminars range in cost from $35 per person per seminar to $100 for a couple for both seminars.

How To Bring Up a Toddler Without Saying ‘No,’ seminars start at 7 p.m., June 25 and 26, at Tumblebums, 735 Goldstream Ave. To register call 250-474-7529.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Challengers topple incumbents in several South Island races

2018 civic election ushers in new faces across the CRD

Victoria and Saanich voters elect to move ahead with amalgamation talks

Victoria and Saanich voters have chosen to move ahead with exploring amalgamation… Continue reading

Prank pizzas delivered to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps’ campaign celebration

The fake orders happened throughout Helps’ campaign

Saanich passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

VIDEO: Tent city moves to Woodwynn Farm, arrests made

The group is asking the government to provide housing for 60 tent city members

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Most Read