Cultivating the ‘why not’ approach

Today’s post is from Jemma of Two Mums, Two Kids?’ and she’s writing about the differences between adult brain and child-focused brain…

“Why not?” and “Go on then” are phrases Squiblet uses a lot and when I sat down to think about it, I realised why.
“Why not?” Is what I say when my brain says “really?!” And then the child-focused part says “well, what’s the problem…she wants to…it won’t be that much of a pain…usually just a bit of mess, or time!”  So what I come out with is “go on then!”  

I have to say, the “why not?” approach means that Squiblet is very accommodating when I need to rush for some reason, or need her to sit still and be quiet for a while.  I think she gets that most of the time her curiosity and desires will be fulfilled.  I’ll give some examples…

grape caterpillar

This morning Squiblet requested “grapes…on a stick”
Adult brain: “what a faff, can I find the kebab sticks, will she poke her eye out?”
Child focused: “why not?!”
Outcome: very happy Squiblet, no issue whatsoever.


So now when Squiblet wants to do something and I hesitate in my response, she looks up and me with her big brown eyes and says “go on then!” And usually, she’s right!  It’s not about being permissive, it’s about letting her explore the things she wants to explore and not constraining her with our own ideas of extra effort or time.  And slowly but surely, she’s become a girl who went from asking for help with everything, to being a girl who when she wants to reach something says “I just off to go and get my step” and before you know it she’s turning the lights on and off.  Not exactly helpful, but I’d far rather she made efforts to do what she wants to do than sat back and let the world go by without fighting for her rights and exploring it.

So I encourage you all (when you aren’t feeling too tired) to have a “why not?” day.  You’ll find yourself doing some very random things but you might just learn something!

2 thoughts on “Cultivating the ‘why not’ approach

  1. Lindsay


    I find I do the “why not?!” when I’m relaxed and calm and feeling like I’ve it got it all together, and, like you said I have time…and all these don’t come together very often!. But, that is MY problem and not Jonathan’s and I’m happy to read this lovely reminder of how important it is. Thank you:)

  2. Three Pink Diamonds

    This post is exactly what I need at the mo! Often I find myself saying no and it has more to do with how I feel than anything else. My now three year old has started to want me to do everything for her which is hard work – so I think I may give this a go and see if it leads to her becoming more independent. Thanks for this!!!


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