Here’s a situation that might be familiar to many of you. It’s half an hour until dinnertime, and you tell your child to set the table. You go to the kitchen to finish preparing the meal, then peek out at the dining area. Still no plates. “Junior! Set the table already!” you yell at your child, who is somewhere in the other side of the house, probably playing video games.
By this time, your patience is probably wearing thin. A few minutes later, and still no plates on the dinner table. Finally, you storm out of the kitchen and into your child’s room to give him an earful. You’re in a bad mood. He’s in a bad mood. He sets the table in a huff.
This happens all the time. Why don’t they just obey right away and get it over and done with? That’s a question many a parent has contended with, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By understanding and communicating better with our children, we can save ourselves from a lot of unnecessary grief and stress.
Your kid doesn’t think you’re serious until you yell…
…Because you’ve trained him that way. If he doesn’t listen to you until you go berserk, that means your child doesn’t take you seriously until you start yelling. Don’t let him get used to you yelling.
Positive Parenting quotes parenting educator Katie Hurley to explain by yelling at kids isn’t an effective way of getting them to obey. “ A natural defense mechanism for children is to ‘tune out’ yelling,” she says. “It’s a highly charged input. Children might yell back or they might even laugh in response, but they aren’t internalizing the message. Frequent yelling can trigger symptoms of anxiety in children and can lead to a negative cycle of communication that is difficult to break.”
Instead of barking orders from across the room, come closer to your child and make a real connection. Look your child in the eye and give only one warning.
Read more about how to make kids listen on the next page.
Kids and parents have different priorities
Aha! Parenting makes a good point when they say that kids just don’t share our priorities. Your child might ask: “Why bother making my bed when it’s just going to get messed up later?” “Why do I have to take a bath now when I’m busy playing with my Lego?”
Aha! Parenting recommends that you communicate to him why he needs to do what you’re asking of him, but also give him time to wrap up whatever he’s preoccupied with.
Communicate your expectations
Instead of marching up to your kids and demanding that they turn off the television to do their chores, Parents recommends communicating your plans to your kids beforehand so that they can manage their expectations. Tell your child ahead of time that that they need to set the table after watching their cartoons—get them to shake on it if you need to—and you can spare yourself from drama later on.
READ: Use these printable checklists to schedule chores for your kids!
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