Daniel Tiger helps me parent better. I mean, seriously, that is one genius preschool feline. Those little phrase/songs get stuck in your head, they’re repeated twenty times an episode, and before you know it, your two year old is telling her brother, “if you feel mad and you’re going to roar…” It does the work for me.
It is also a good reminder that having a succinct phrase to help reset or refocus can be very powerful. Phrases don’t have to be perfect, and they might not work forever, but a wellworn phrase at the right time can cut your work in half. They help us know what to expect and get us where we need to be efficiently.
Here are four phrases I’ve got in rotation:
1// “Kindergarten is full of surprises!”
Cruz came home from school with that one. He and I were chatting one day about how the class had missed a minute of break time (or something… it’s sometimes hard to tell) because they had a hard time getting quiet. “How did you feel about that?” I asked. “Well,” he nodded sagely, “kindergarten is full of surprises.” That Mrs. Solodon is a genius! I thought to myself for the one hundredth time since September. I’m going to use that. You can use this phrase any old way you want. Bedtime is full of surprises! Afternoons are full of surprises! Birthday parties are full of surprises! This is much more cheerful than my exasperated, “I have NO IDEA of who is going to be at the park… if the lion will be out at the zoo… if we have any cookies at home.” The park is full of surprises!
2// “Let’s experiment.”
I grabbed this one from Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. Like yours truly, she likes do things that she knows she’ll be good at. Ahem. Saying “let’s experiment” to myself takes the burden of success away. It’s just an experiment (and it’s full of surprises!): the only result needed is data. Was it good? Was it bad? I find out and then I know. As someone who does not like risks, I say this to myself a lot.
3// “If you have to go potty, stop and go right away.”
Of course we need a Daniel Tiger phrase! There is a child in this house who shall remain nameless that recently told me that their potty accident was caused by being “too busy.” Uh-uh. Too busy will not work. (And I sure hope I’m not overusing “I’m busy” but I think I am and I really hate that phrase) So we’ve busted out this magic phrase. Everyone knows it. Everyone uses it.
4// “Hey man, I’m just doing the best that I can!”
Stolen from… Brene Brown? Elizabeth Gilbert? I can’t remember where I first saw this, but it is a game changer. The other night I bought a pack of diapers. The checker (bless her heart) asked me if these diapers were for my current baby or my upcoming one. Uuugggghhhh. There is no one on earth that enjoys being mistaken for pregnant. I immediately felt embarrassed about my little tummy and took a mental inventory of whether or not I could fit in some extra runs or a new meal plan… shhhh. Hey man. I’m just doing the best that I can. End of story.
Those are my overused phrases right now. I can’t wait to hear your overused phrases below!