It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Hands are for…?

If you’ve been reading long enough, you know the answer.

Wrong answers include: hitting, pinching, pushing, grabbing, and shoving, all things my compatriots at work are distinctly inclined to do. (Bearing in mind they’re all under three feet and three years old.)

When working with such folk, a good response to bad behaviour is to give them a good alternative. (Learned that in teacher’s college. “Don’t tell them what you DON’T want them to do; tell them what you WANT them to do.” Works for kids of all ages.) For toddler attacks of the manual variety, my preferred alternative is,

“Hands are not for [insert inappropriate action here], hands are for hugging!” And then we all engage in hugs of various groups of tots and grownups. Much, much more fun!

Knowing this, one of my parents sent me this today:

Sure to make you smile.


January 31, 2007 - Posted by | individuality, manners, parenting, the cuteness!


  1. This is possibly the sweetest video I’ve seen. As a fine arts major, I’m bombarded by elitist art, concepts, ideas, performances. This simple idea; free hugs, made me smile. I can appreciate it in contexts of current art practices and think it’s absoloutly brilliant. I’d so hug that guy.

    Comment by Joel | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  2. That was a really sweet video. I think we need more people offering free hugs. I would hug him. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Comment by Dani | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the link, I loved the video (almost as much as I love hugs =). I think my favorite part is when they start hugging the sheepish-looking cops.

    Comment by Tali | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  4. Watched while huggoing Thomas. He loved it.

    Comment by Peter | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  5. My sister is in ECE right now so she teaches me all this. I practice on my 1 year old. I know you are not supposed to say “no” or “don’t” but a 14 month old still needs a simple word to know what’s going on. So I still say no, but then I use all the alternative things I’m supposed to say to him so it comes out naturally when he’s a bit older. Is that right? Or is there an alternative to no right off the bat.

    Comment by pluckymama | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  6. This video was great.

    I think in WordPress, you have to use the tabs in the section underneath where you type your post. Isn’t there one called Video?

    Comment by Sharkey | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  7. I loved that. It actually made me tear up a little bit. (Maybe that’s the baby hormones? Or maybe just the baby? Everything seems a little more intense because of him, all the time. I don’t want him to have to grow up in a world where hugs are banned!)

    I want to go hug that man.

    Comment by Heath | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  8. That was lovely.

    Comment by candace | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  9. just a quick idea for a post
    – an appropriate time to start taking your child to a daycare:

    -one year old, 3 year old?
    What are signs that a child is ready? How to decide if work is more important than the baby?

    Thank you SO much!!

    Lurker from Chicago

    Comment by Madison | January 31, 2007 | Reply

  10. 1.Joel: Doesn’t it turn out that Free Hugs is a movement, started (I think) by the fellow in the video. Here’s the link:

    2.Dani: Check out the link I provided Joel, above. Maybe you can be the first Hugger in your town! What struck me as I watched all the people walk by him at first is how much courage that took. Once the momentum built, it’d be great, but at first, with people treating you as a lunatic? Pretty intimidating!

    3.Tali: Yup. The cops were putting up with it, but they weren’t exactly into it. I figure it only succeeded at all because it was a pretty girl offering the hugs!

    4.Peter: Made me smile! Nice mental picture – daddy and boy.

    5.Pluckymama: Are they teaching them they’re not allowed to say ‘no’, now? I think that’s pretty unrealistic, frankly. Yes, you may tell your child ‘no’ – it’s unavoidable sometimes! The trick is not to overuse it. It’s too easy to fall into the habit of kneejerk no’s. Where there is an alternate, use it. That will give your occasional ‘no’ a lot more power!

    6.Sharkey: Figured it out. WordPress has its own system – but you have to go to the FAQ section to find out what it is. Once you know it, dead simple. (But personally I think it’s silly to have to do it any other way than dropping in YouTube’s code.)

    7.Heath: If you’re like me, that teariness is permanent. I think being a mother ups your compassion levels to new heights. I don’t know if they stay up there for everyone, but they certainly did for me. I’ve had certain commercials choke me up! And you know what? I see this as a good thing, an enrichment of my character.

    8.Candace: Wasn’t it? He’s a fellow with a mission – and a courageous man, to boot.

    9.Madison: When you have the choice for when to use childcare, it gives a whole layer of complexity to the decision, doesn’t it? It’s a simpler – though no less easy – decision for those families who have no choice.

    How to decide work is more important than the baby? Well, work is NEVER more important than the baby, of course, just as it’s not more important than your husband. Or yourself, for that matter. Work may be more or less rewarding, but many if not most, do it because it is a necessity. Few would do their jobs for free! If we have our priorities straight, we work to live, not live to work.

    So you go back to work based on a complex mixture of factors that vary depending on the family. You’ll consider financial need, job satisfaction, your long-term career prospects, your child’s temperament, the kind and quality of care available to you, and its cost, your husband’s income and his job satisfaction, his long-term prospects, your heritage, your wishes, etc., etc., etc.

    There is no one right way to do this. There is no clear wrong way, either. You can put your child in care at six weeks, or never. Generally speaking, I believe that if a choice is made with love and lots of thought, and with the readiness to evaluate it and perhaps adjust or change it at intervals, it will be a good choice.

    Comment by MaryP | February 1, 2007 | Reply

  11. They’re super strict about not saying no to the daycare kids. No “don’ts, cants, no’s….etc…no “negative” words or whatever. They ARE working with high risk children also so it’s most likely a little different. my sister can’t believe how they get kids to do things without ever using any negative terms. Anyway, I was thinking that definitely No or Dont are going to be a super serious worda in our house. But for now, it just means “do what I say or you’re going to get a time out!” haha.

    Comment by pluckymama | February 1, 2007 | Reply

  12. now I know my period is due, I burst into tears when he got his first hug and it changed into colour, I’m off to find some chocolate….

    Comment by jenny uk | February 1, 2007 | Reply

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this video, Mary!
    You really made my day! My 20mo. old son looked under? my shoulder while I was watching it, said “nuggle” and then gave me a great big hug! I will send all my contacts here to see this one!
    Thanks again!

    Comment by Jennifer | February 1, 2007 | Reply

  14. Thank you so much for your answer!

    Thank you also for all the recommendations: I got Burton L. White’s books after you mentioned it in your blog.

    I also enjoy the un-PR stories from Partners in Parenting!!! Your advice columns (about cleaniness etc.) and snippets from life of your lil guys are my ultimate faves.

    Thank you again!

    Comment by Madison | February 1, 2007 | Reply

  15. I love watching that video – I’ve seen it a few times and still love it.

    Comment by Kristen | February 1, 2007 | Reply

  16. I always try to remember that you need to tell the kids what you want them to do. At school, if I told the students, “Don’t run”, they probably only heard run, because they kept on going. But when I said, “Stop and walk,” they usually did as told.

    Comment by mamacita tina | February 1, 2007 | Reply

  17. lol at Jenny uk

    Comment by pluckymama | February 1, 2007 | Reply

  18. Great video!

    Comment by nomotherearth | February 1, 2007 | Reply

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