“Sweetie, would you please put your cup in the sink?”
…begins to move slowly…
…continues walking toward the sink and drops their cup in.
Does this scene sound familiar? It’s easy to get into a rut of counting to three every time you ask your little one to do something. Soon, they get so used to you counting that they don’t even move until they hear, “One, two…”
Counting to three is indeed a popular and effective parenting strategy. But why do kids respond when they hear us count? Usually it is because they know some form of discipline is coming, such as a time out.
What if you could use two simple words to naturally remind them that when you ask them to do something, you expect a response? Not because of impending discipline, but because it is just the right thing to do.
Two Simple Words
The two simple words that work for us are, “Yes, Mama.” That’s it. Or, “Yes, Daddy,” or “Yes, Grandma.”
It won’t work like magic the first time you say it. Some training will be required to help your child understand what is expected when they hear those words. When starting out, I usually say, “Yes, Mama. I obey,” and then do the task with them.
Then as they begin to get it, I gradually stop helping them with the task and drop the “I obey”. That’s when the words “Yes, Mama” become a simple, positive reminder that I’ve asked them to do something and they need to respond.
This simple parenting strategy works most of the time. But of course, like everything, it doesn’t work every time. Sometimes I need to add back in those extra two words: “Yes, Mama. I obey.”
Now if you’re a parent, you know that there are times when your child will just not budge for anything, and “NO!” is all you can get from them. Sometimes there is no parenting strategy that will work, and you need to employ some form of discipline. But if you begin using these two simple words when your child doesn’t respond right away, I promise you’ll find yourself counting less often.
Has your summer gone off the rails? If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed this summer, check out my post, Reset the Summer Schedule With Your Kids. You’ll find great ideas to help you get going in the right direction and enjoy the rest of the summer with your kids.
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