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How the heck do you teach a 3yo the difference between wanting something and needing something??

(9 Posts)
ellesabe Sat 08-Feb-14 23:01:02

Her: I need a piece of chocolate cake.
Me: Erm, no you don't.

Her: I don't need to do a poo.
Me: Erm, yes you do.

starlight1234 Sat 08-Feb-14 23:03:41

oooh I can understand the need chocolate cake feeling..I often need cake

TheGreatHunt Sun 09-Feb-14 07:53:13

You're not really listening to her or explaining. She doesn't "know" the difference between need or want. She's 3.

With my ds, I repeat "you want some cake?". Then say yes or no depending and explain why. Eg not now because you've just had x or dinner is nearly ready or cakes are for treats. He's getting the hang of it (he's 4) and will ask if he can have a cake for a treat. He'll ask for a snack if he's hungry (and tell me he is hungry).

As for poo/wee denying, I say to ds "you're wiggling so it looks like you need a poo/wee" and suggest he sits on the toilet. I just keep reminding him to go as he'd rather play. Now he's much better at taking himself to go.

pictish Sun 09-Feb-14 07:56:13

I think they ALL go through the want/need thing at three. Mine all certainly did.
Don't worry about correcting it too much...they work out the context for themselves eventually.

cory Sun 09-Feb-14 11:02:36

Ah, this is a lesson that the world manages to teach some of us over a timespan of 80 years or so. Others not so much.

teacherlikesapples Sun 09-Feb-14 11:18:50

Just role model the language you would like to use, by asking for clarification- e.g "You would like some cake?"

This applies for any mispronunciation or language error just role model the correction in the format of a clarification question

Also use consistent language in any explanation- i.e Cake is a sometimes food or cake is good for a treat, but not something we need to eat to keep us happy & healthy. Fruit, vegetables, water etc... is what we need.

Same logic applies with going to the toilet. It is something we need to do to keep us happy & healthy.

Like most things, children need repetition of concepts in a range of contexts in order to fully understand. If you only say "no you don't" you are not explaining the distinction or teaching the concept.

If you are consistent with your explanation & role modelling of the use of the phrases, then they will gain that understanding.

ellesabe Sun 09-Feb-14 14:01:55

Haha! Thanks for the replies.

Obviously I do explain to her every time, using some of the explanations that you've all suggested.
I realise that the conversations I outlined in my original post didn't reflect this because I couldn't be bothered to type out what I currently spend most of my day saying

I just wasn't sure if it was unusual for her to be still not understanding the concept or if there was a magic way of teaching it that I somehow hadn't thought of.

Otherwise, I will keep repeating myself. Sigh.

riskit4abiskit Sun 09-Feb-14 17:55:29

If you Google needs and wants lesson or similar you will find lots of good resources. I think oxfam or some similar organisation has a poster with pictures that you can cut up and sort into needs and wants.

ellesabe Sun 09-Feb-14 19:40:06

Ooh thanks, I'll have a look!

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