“I know, it’s really hard.”
That’s it. That’s all you have to say.
We hear “I can’t” a million times a day and often during meltdowns or tantrums and it’s really quite simple. Just respond with, “yes, it is hard.”
They may not actually be able to do what they are saying they can’t do and then you can ask them if they want help. Or you can just stand back and watch.
If they do achieve what they previously couldn’t, then they look up at you like, “Oh my gosh! Look what I just did and it was really hard!!”
If they don’t, then you can just commiserate and say, “There are some really hard things that I can’t do either.”
So next time you hear your kids say, “I can’t!!” then refrain from saying, “yes, you can” and just say, “I know, it’s really hard.”