Short Phrases Parents Can Use
To Help Children Cope with Emotions - Part 1
Do you ever feel like your child just doesn’t listen to you? Do you have to repeat yourself over and over again to get her to respond? Or, do you ask your child to do something and he ignores you? Teaching a young child to cooperate with verbal requests can be challenging. You may be tempted compromise your expectations (to pick up toys or sit at the table for meals) because it’s too hard to get them to follow directions.
We’d like to suggest that you try these short phrases below. Short phrases are powerful because they prevent parents from talking too much - a common parenting (and teaching) trap. When we talk too much, children learn to tune us out.
What to say instead:
Be sure you have your child’s attention BEFORE you give directions. It’s best to get close to your child (instead of calling across the room), touch your child gently and say “Eyes” before making a request. When your child makes eye contact with you, say “There you are! It’s time to…..” whatever it’s time to do. In addition, giving a child a warning about what is coming next BEFORE they need to get started is very helpful. You may say, “Once this show is over, it will be time to brush your teeth.” Then repeat the short phrases when the show is over.
“Yes, mommy.” or “Yes, daddy.”
If you ask your child to help you clean up toys, encourage her to agree with you by saying, “Yes, mommy.” By acknowledging you with this phrase, your child acknowledges to you they will do this and are more likely to carry it out. If you don’t hear an immediate response, pause for a few minutes to give them a chance to respond or ask a follow-up questions to be sure they understood.
“A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction.” Proverbs, 13:1
“Repeat what mommy said.”
One thing parents (and teachers!) of young children do a lot of is repeat. However, instead of saying your instructions five times and becoming background noise, encourage your children to “repeat what mommy said.” This also helps them process and remember your request.
Here’s the bottom line.
Your child need to learn to follow adult (parent & teacher) expectations, including performing simple chores. You can teach them to cooperate by the way you speak and expecting them to cooperate. It is work, but it is worth it!
“Treat a child as though he is already the person he’s capable of becoming.” Haim Ginott
This resource teach you age appropriate expectations for your child. We hope you find it helpful: Teaching Your Child to: Cooperate with Requests