“Sweetie, would you please put your cup in the sink?”

…no response…

“One, two…”

…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.Want to learn the two words that help children listen naturally and quickly? This simple parenting strategy works most of the time.

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.Tired of counting to three every time you ask your little one to do something? Try these two simple words to help them respond more quickly.

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.

Ten Simple Ways to Get Your Toddler to Listen–FREE Guide! Sign up here for some super simple ideas to get your toddler to listen quickly and easily. It includes a printable chart you can put anywhere for instant ideas!

More Inspiration

Want more easy ways to help your toddler listen and gain their cooperation? Check out How to Get Your Toddler to Listen – Five Simple Ideas.

I’m all for simple! Here’s another simple trick I use: Stop Your Child’s Interrupting With This Simple Trick.

Also, if you’re looking for some new, unique activities for your kids, check out my list of the Top 20 Kids Activity Sites. There are so many great ideas there for all ages, for outside fun, STEM activities, and learning through play.


Linda Dickinson · July 5, 2018 at 6:09 pm


    Amy · July 5, 2018 at 11:53 pm


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