Simple Language Tweaks You’ll Want to Try – Including a “Say This….Take A Break From That” Cheat Sheet

by | August 30, 2017 | 0 comments

Simple Language Tweaks You’ll Want to Try – Including a “Say This….Take A Break From That” Cheat Sheet

by | August 30, 2017 | 0 comments

Switching Up Our Communication so Your Kids Will Listen & Cooperate Better!

Do you ever get frustrated that your kids seem to not be listening very well to you? Are there times during the day when they seem to just totally disregard your request and do the opposite of what you’ve asked of them? Do you feel like a broken record sometimes?

Instead of

·      Reminding 10 times to do something

·      Threatening to take away a toy or privilege if they don’t cooperate

·      Bribing with candy, toys, or technology

·      Begging for cooperation

·      Giving up or giving in (not sticking to a limit)

·      Questioning if you’re doing everything wrong because they never listen

Would you rather:

·      Have them listen & respond faster

·      Cooperate on a regular basis

·      Follow through with what you’ve asked them to do

·      Honor your limits & rules

·      Feel strongly connected to them, even when sticking to a limit or rule

·      Trust yourself that you’re parenting in a kind & respectful way that gets results

If yes, cheers, meeeee toooooooooo!

I’ve got some great ideas of new communication strategies for you to try out. Double good news is that they really work!

First off, let’s discuss healthy healthy child development. When our kids push back or “don’t listen”, it’s often simply a sign that they are growing up and learning to use critical thinking skills, just as they should be! Every age provides different opportunities for them to learn how to develop their own voice & manage their own desires in the world, while also respecting the family and societal limits around them. They really are NOT out to get us, they’re just trying to figure out how to do this thing called life while also having healthy, respectful relationships with those they love.

The good news is, we can yield incredible results in the rate of cooperation we see from our kids, by changing the way we talk to them. Aka, avoiding being a broken record!

Remember the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons? “Wah Wah Wah Wah”…her style, tone & message was so monotonous, boring and repetitive that it didn’t really matter what she was saying…the kids just tuned her out.

So instead of saying the same thing over and over again, and not getting a great response or cooperation from your kids…commit to trying some new statements, questions & phrases that will get their attention, engage their critical thinking skills, fuel their need to feel powerful and get them to say yes more often!

I’ve created a downloadable cheat sheet (aka chart) that you can grab here. I recommend you print & put somewhere you’ll see it often to remind you to try new things. I’ve tried out ALL of it with my kids and they really do work. It’s not always easy to remember them all & habits are hard to break, but with practice & perseverance, you’ll become more fluent in using this language.

Below are my FAVORITE TOP FIVE from the chart….you can grab the rest here.


Common Statement: “Be Careful”

Try This Instead: “What do you need to remember when you play at the park?” or “Please move slow like a careful turtle when walking on top of that wall.“ 

*Kids often become parent deaf when we say this same thing over and over again. “Be Careful” ends up not really meaning anything to them. Instead, engage their critical thinking skills and have them re-state the important precaution or instruction. Giving them specifics and ask for what what you want. This will leave them with a clear vision in their head of your expectations and they’ll follow through much better.


Common Statement: Be Nice or Good”

Try This Instead: “What do you need to remember at school, on your playdate, at Grandma’s house, etc.?” or “Use your Teamwork skills.”

… (or whatever skills they need to have a successful day).

*This common statement is so overused that is often loses complete meaning to our kids & also defies our lessons about unconditional love. Our kids are loved fully and GOOD even when they make mistakes (one of the most important lessons you will EVER teach your kids). Instead, engage their critical thinking skills so they have to come up with the answer about what will help them have a good day and be a respectful kid.


Common Statement: “Don’t! Stop It!”

Try This Instead: “Please pet the dog gently” or “Please put your shoes in the closet”.

*As adults, we don’t go through our day telling waitresses, baristas, grocery attendants, friends, etc. what we DON’T want, right? Of course not! We say “I’ll have the turkey sandwich please, or please fill my tank up on #7.) If we reversed it & told the waiter “I don’t want the tuna salad” or “Don’t overcharge my card for my gas”….people would think we’re crazy! When it comes to our kids, this form of constant negative communication isn’t perceived well and puts undue strain on relationships. Challenge your brain to ask for what you want, it feels so much better for both you & your family!


Common Statement: Hurry Up”

Try This Instead: “We’re on cheetah time today! Let’s see how fast we can move!”

*Who loves being rushed? None of us of course! Try your best to model what healthy time management looks like (prepare lunches the night before, put outfits out at bedtime, wake up early enough, etc.), but of course there will still be times when we’re in a rush. Kids LOVE animal comparisons. Just be sure to let them be on turtle time sometimes! We could all use a healthy dose of slowing down, so remember to provide mornings and days where everyone’s not in a rush & can let the kids move as slow as they want.


Common Statement: “Don’t Get Into Trouble!”

Try This Instead: “Respect yourself & others.”

*Be specific here as kids often don’t absorb the general statements and worries we throw at them. Ask for what you want and then ask them to re-state what is important to remember. The second step of asking them to repeat your agreement is important in anchoring whatever lesson you’d like them to remember throughout the day.


Don’t forget, I’ve got 10 more great ideas for you on the extended “Say This, Take a Break from That” Cheat Sheet / Chart that you can download here or by clicking below. Let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear from you!

Learn more about how Positive Parenting Curriculum can transform your life through these Fresh Start Family programs

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