Knowing what to say to your kids and when to say it can sometimes feel like traveling unknown waters. You might feel like you’re trying to say the right things to your kids in the right moment, but it all just goes completely wrong. You think you’re saying one thing, your child hears another. You’ve tried to get your message across and no one listens. Cue the large brick slamming against your forehead due to utter frustration and annoyance! HELP PLEASE!!!!
“I just need to know what to say to my kids when…”
You are not alone when you lack the right words
I tell you this phrase all the time and I am going to tell you this AGAIN, because it’s so damn important.
PARENTING IS NOT INTUITIVE. IT’S A LEARNED SKILL.
You are not supposed to know what to say or how to say it when your kids decide to not listen, back-talk, refuse to eat dinner, won’t sit on the potty, screaming about bedtime, fighting to put on their coat, won’t stop fighting with their brother or sister or they keep getting out of bed. Just to name a few of those completely agonizing and frustrating moments that come up in the life of a parent. You might be dealing with some or all of these issues and you’re not alone.
Change how you speak to your kids to improve behavior
I am going to give you some examples and scenarios to help start that shift in your ‘speaking brain.’ I want you to know that you are capable of making positive shifts. You are going to be able to say the right things, at the right time so your kids respond. I know you want to leap from that hamster wheel, jump off that record player and stop going round and round. I am going to give you a little “cheat sheet” below to help trigger some ideas for you. Keep in mind the age and stage of your child. Language will have to be tweaked to be developmentally appropriate. BUT, do not downplay your kids. They are extremely capable and need you to believe in them. As a former Kindergarten teacher who taught 30 non-english speaking kids each year, their success was based more on my strong belief in their capability, than what I said or how I said something.
Simple phrases to say to your kids when…
1. Child refusing to brush their teeth before bed
“Brush your teeth. Come on, stop wasting time. Charlie, do you want books or not? If you don’t brush your teeth in the next 5 minutes, then no books. Have you brushed your teeth yet?”
Say this to your kids:
“We are starting books in 5 minutes. I will set the timer so you know how long you have to brush your teeth and meet me in bed. If the timer goes off and you’re not ready, then you will be wasting some of your book time. See you in your room when you’re ready.”
2. Child won’t put on their coat and it’s cold outside
“It’s time to put on your coat we are going to be late. Let’s go, hurry up. I said, put on your coat. Why isn’t your coat on?”
Say this to your kids:
“It’s time for us to leave now Alice. Can you please put on your coat?” Alice refuses. “Either you put on your coat or you might be cold. It’s your choice.” (Good old natural consequences).
3. Child won’t stay seated at the table for dinner
“Come on, Johnny it’s time for dinner. No, you need to put your tooshie on the cooshie. Stop getting down. If you get down one more time than there’s no dessert.” Johnny gets down 92 more times. “I said if you don’t sit down no dessert.” Johnny gets dessert.
Say this to your kids:
“Johnny, it’s time for dinner. Once you come to the table and sit down your bottom needs to stay on the chair. If you get down from the table, then you are telling me you are all done and your dinner is going into the garbage and you can have something to eat at breakfast.” (Good old logical consequences).
Do you see the difference?
I want you to go back through these examples and read and re-read them. It takes time and practice to break old habits. I don’t want you to give up if it doesn’t come out right the first time. Clients always say to me,
“Tia, I tried to say what you say, but it didn’t come out right.”
That’s okay, don’t worry. It doesn’t need to sound just like me. All I want for you to do is try to adjust your current patterns and start making that shift towards feeling more equipped to know what to say when your kids do, dot, dot, dot!
I have helped hundreds of parents learn to respond instead of react. To leave the hamster wheel behind and only say something that is actually going to encourage their kids to listen. No more wasted breath, energy or time. Now, it’s your turn, you’re next!
How to implement natural and logical consequences
If you want to extra support and guidance to help you further understand how to implement fair natural and logical consequences like we used in the above examples- instantly download my Consequences Guide here. Stop suffering and giving empty threats that don’t work. Gift yourself the knowledge you need in order to know what to say to your kids when do x, y or z.
PS. Do you want to have extra support, tips, a parenting community and love? Jump on over to my private facebook group and check it out! I’d love to see you there. Simple Parenting Solutions private facebook group