"Feel free to keep the toys you clean up."
"Would you like to leave the park in 2 minutes or 3 minutes?"
"We will play that game as soon as you put your shoes away."
"I'll listen when your voice is as calm as mine."
These phrases and others like them have completely and utterly saved my sanity when dealing with my kids. I learned them in a book.
I've read many books through the years relating to parenting, but the book that has helped the most is Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. I highly recommend this book and the Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood.
The parenting philosophy presented in the books makes sense and the techniques really work.
The keys are to remain calm (and I've found when you have a strategy for dealing with behavior it really makes it easier to be calm) and to follow through.
For example, I used the first phrase above, "Feel free to keep the toys you clean up." with my 7 year old who has gotten in the habit of just moving around a couple toys and not really putting anything away when asked to clean his room. I said it in a very calm, matter of fact way and was completely ready to pack up the toys that he didn't put away and put them in the garage for a while. It is a logical consequence because if he cannot put away his toys by himself then he probably has too many toys to be responsible for. But, you know what? It worked! He actually cleaned them all up! First time in a long time he's done it without more of a fight, but also was the first time I phrased the request in a Love and Logic fashion. (I have to re-read the book often to stay on top of my parenting game!)
I heard from a teacher recently who uses the Love and Logic approach with her class. She said her favorite tactic is when the kids get too loud in line as she walks them through the hallways, she stops and simply says, "I'll continue when you're quiet." She said it is amazing how quickly the kids stop talking. She knows from experience that barking idle things like, "Quiet!" or "Who's talking?!" would just be ignored and would only succeed in getting her upset.
I was really happy to hear that teachers are now adopting this great method of interacting with kids!
**This is not a paid endorsement. I genuinely have, read, and use these books. But, if you purchase a book through my link or store, I will receive a small portion of the sale.**
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