We are back with more parenting tips for parents from the best-selling book How To Talk Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King. If you haven’t read the previous blog from this series of blogs we are doing, Click here to read it now.
So, let’s not waste time and get to the blog, shall we?
As we have already seen how to handle kids’ feelings and accept them, we are going to see how to get the kids to listen to us. And do the things we tell them to. Just like the last part, this one won’t be easy either but with practice, you and your kids will get used to it.
How To Get Kids To Do What They Have To Do – Parenting Tips For Parents
We as parents tend to order the kids around all day long. It’s not our fault. We are exhausted, we are trying to teach them things and we just want them to listen to us. Because we are the parents and we know. But let’s put ourselves in kids’ shoes. If we are being ordered around, would we do the things we know we are supposed to?
It is human nature to lose interest in doing something as soon as someone tells you to do it. Even if you wanted to do it before someone told you to. So we have to remember that our children will just be the same. Well, what can we do instead of ordering them around like “That is your bag. Pick it up from the floor, Now!”
We have picked up a few parenting tips for parents that you can use to make your kids listen to you. You can use them instead of ordering them, blaming them, threatening or warning them, and of course lecturing them.
Tool Number One: Be Playful
This tool may not work at all times but works most of the time because children in nature like to be playful. There are 2 ways to use this technique.
One is to Make an object talk
Make the objects talk with a playful voice. Get into character. For Example, Hungry toys can demand, “Feed me Blocks! I want the green crunchy one!” Lonely shoes can whine, “I feel cold and empty. Won’t somebody put their nice warm foot in me?” All these objects will bring a smile and make your kids more willing to do the tasks.
Two is to Turn a boring task into a challenge or a game
Instead of saying, “Look at this mess. You’re supposed to put your dirty clothes in the basket.”
Try saying, “How many seconds do you think it will take to toss your dirty clothes in the basket? Twenty? Oh dear, I don’t think so. That is way too much work to do in just 20 seconds. It’s worth a try I guess. Ready… Set… Go… Holy cow! You did it ten! You beat the clock.”
A real-life experiment with this tool:
Maria, mother of the kid Benjamin narrates:
Benjamin always objects to having his fingernails clipped. He doesn’t like to sit still. Last night I pretended the nail clippers were talking to him. “Oh Benjamin, I’m so hungry. Won’t you let me have a little bite of your pinky nail?” He stuck out his little finger and the nail clipper had a delicious meal. “Oh Thank you, Yum Yum! This is such a tasty little nail. May I have another one?” And then he stuck his other fingers. He then continued to have a long conversation with the nail clippers while I finished clipping his nails without any harm or tantrums.
Tool Number Two: Offer a Choice
The second tool for engaging cooperation is to substitute a choice for a command. There are plenty of options we can give our children to get things done.
Instead of saying, “Get in the car, Now!”
Try saying, “Would you like to bring a toy or a snack to the ride?”
“Do you want to take giant steps to the car or do you want to skip to the car?”
Instead of, “Get your homework started. No more excuses.”
Try, “Would it be easier to get your homework over with right away and be free of it or would you rather have a snack first?”
While using this tool it is important to remember not to turn the choice into a threat. When you are giving a choice it’s important that both options are pleasant.
Here’s an example:
Tool Number Three: Put the Child in Charge
As said earlier, Human beings yearn for independence and hate being controlled. Whether they are a toddler, a teenager, or an adult, they don’t like it. So, put your child in control of their charge. As a parent, you can define the job that needs to be done but let your child be in charge of the details.
Here’s an example:
Tool Number Four: Give Information
Here’s how this works. You give your child information. Then she has a chance to figure out for herself what to do.
Instead of, “Stop banging on the keyword. You’re going to break it!”
Give information, “Keyboards are delicate. All they need is a very light touch.”
Instead of, “Hey don’t put the letters on the ground! You need to pick it all up now!”
Give information, “The mail belongs on the desk.”
Here’s an example:
Tool Number Five: Say It with a Word (or a Gesture)
Say what you wanna say without lectures. Do it with just a word and let them think for themselves.
Instead of, “Buckle your seatbelts, Now!”
Just say, “Seat Belts”
Instead of, “Wash your hands right now!”
Do a gesture that represents hand washing.
Instead of, “How many times do I have to say not to leave the milk on the table after using it and to put it in the fridge?”
Just say, “Milk!” and point it out.
Tool Number Six: Describe What You See
Sometimes a single word is not enough. You need to add on more words without name-calling or blaming the children.
Instead of, “Don’t walk away and leave your jacket on the floor. I am not going to pick it up for you.”
Describe, “I see a jacket on the floor.”
Instead of, “You’re making a huge mess. Clean that up or the paints are going away.”
Describe, “I see paint dripping.”
Remember to appreciate the progress they are doing before describing what is left to do while using this tool.
Like instead of saying, “You still haven’t finished up cleaning your toys.”
Say, “I see almost all the toys have been put away! There are only a few things left to clean up.”
Here’s an example on these 2 tools:
Tool Number Seven: Describe How You Feel
As parents we expect ourselves to be endlessly patient with kids. We are humans and not robots. Kids need to know when their parents are frightened, frustrated, or angry. So, describe how you feel to them.
When your children are fighting, instead of lecturing, describe how you feel to them.
Instead of, “Don’t hit each other! That is not a good habit. That is mean!”
Try, “When I see one child hurting another child I get very upset!”
It is also important to remember not to use this tool with a ‘You’ in a sentence. When you use ‘You’ children get blamed and they get defensive. There is a huge difference between saying, “Look at this mess you made!” and “I don’t like to see food on the floor!”
Tool Number Eight: Write a Note
A note can be more effective than a repeating voice that says the same thing over and over again. So this easily becomes one of the best parenting tips for parents from Joanna Faber.
An example story with this tool:
Sarah, mother of Mia narrates:
I try to get up earlier than my kids so I can have my coffee and read the paper for twenty minutes before going into action. I really need that transition time. But Mia has been sneaking downstairs early. When I tell her it’s not time to come down to the kitchen yet, she fools around, putting one foot in the kitchen and then running back to the stairs. I just can’t stand this when she does this because I really need those few minutes.
This week, I wrote a note on a big piece of paper and strung it across the step. It said ‘Kitchen opens at 7:00’. When Mia came down she saw that paper and said, “Mommy, I can’t read!”
I asked, “Do you want me to read it to you?”
She said okay and after reading it to her, I gave a timer and set it for her on 7. She went back upstairs and waited until 7:00.
Tool Number Nine: Take Action Without Insult
The final tool is to take action without insulting them. If your child is pounding on your touchscreen, despite your protest that it is delicate, you can remove it from them and say, “I see you have a lot of energy. I’m worried that the screen will break. Let’s find something else to play with that matches your strength.”
If your child can’t resist throwing stones in the park, despite your efforts to offer tempting alternatives, you can say, “I’m taking you home now. I don’t want anyone to get hit by a rock, even a little one.”
Here’s an example:
We get that sometimes it can be too much for you to even remember these tools. But don’t feel bad. You are here and that means you are trying very hard. Children will take some time to learn self-control and discipline but they will learn and do what you tell them to eventually. It just takes some time.
Tell us which one do you think is the best tool to use in the comment section below. Watch out for more of this parenting tips for parents series on Greentikki.