Category Archives: Engaging Cooperation

23 Jun

Say It With A Word


There are many powerful principles and effective skills in How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. One of my favorite techniques is “Say It With A Word” because it stops me from going on and on AND ON about something that needs taken care of in our home. Children don’t want or need to hear a lecture every time something needs done and most children quickly learn to tune out those very lectures parents hope will reform children’s behavior.

Many times we can bypass the lecture and say one or two words to get our point across in a way children will actually hear AND respond to. Take these two examples:

“I’ve been asking and asking you kids to get into pajamas and all you’ve been doing is clowning around. You agreed that before you watch TV you’d be in pajamas and I don’t see a sign of anyone doing anything about it!”

versus this short and sweet reminder:

“Kids, pajamas!

Or how about this contrast:

“You promised before we got a dog that you would feed him every day. Now this is the third time I’ve had to remind you this week and I’m getting sick and tired of it. Mom and I take our turns and it’s not fair that we have the whole burden.”

versus a simple reminder:

“Billy, the DOG.”

In my home, we have a problem with lights being left on and I am often tempted (and sometimes give in to the lecture seduction) to talk about the cost of electricity and the free power of the sun and on and on and on, but when I simpy say “lights” the effect is much more powerful. Instead of eye-rolling, stomping, and hard feelings, the lights are quickly turned off and our day goes forward with little interruption.

Children dislike hearing lectures, sermons, and long explanations. Don’t let those lecture demons ensnare you, just say it with a word.