In this blog, I will give you 12 tips for how to talk to kids and be more effective in your communication. Get your kids to listen today.

I walk into my daughter’s room with scattered clothes.  Clothes on the floor, clothes draped over the chair, clothes on the bed, clothes on the dresser… I can’t tell what is clean and what is dirty! Has a tornado magically entered this room, or has the Looney Toon’s Tasmanian Devil come to visit?

This drives me insane! Don’t they know those clothes cost money?  Don’t they realize that they are getting wrinkled? How am I going to get my daughter to change her behavior?

How to Talk to Kids

How to Talk To Kids

Discipline.   I hate discipline.  It’s like exercise- healthy, but not pleasant.  I don’t consider all discipline negative. In fact, my definition of discipline is training.  I like positive discipline better, like creating reward charts, but let’s face it- even positive discipline techniques are exhausting. This week’s Deeper Impact Video coming out Wednesday, November 27th at noon Mtn time, will break down the primary strategies for changing your child’s behavior.  However, before we jump into talking about consequences and rewards next week, I want to give you my tips for Message Delivery.  In my opinion, getting your kids to do what you ask them starts with HOW you deliver the request and how you communicate with them!

In this issue of the Big Impact, I will give you MY 12 tips for better communicating your requests to your child.   

  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 1: Be consistent.  Consistency creates a standard and expectation.  Without consistency- you’ll be working twice as hard.
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 2: Don’t bluff.   You can’t say you’re going to take away the electronics and then not follow through.  The kids will call that bluff every time after!
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 3:  Be clear and concise with your delivery of instructions or expectations.  Use simple direct language. For example: Pick up your room.
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 4:  Don’t phrase your request in a question format.  For example, don’t say- ‘Can you clean up your room please?’  Instead say, ‘Clean your room please.’ When you make your request a question, you are not only confusing the literal child but, it makes the request sound like an option.
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 5:  When you give your instructions- move closer to the child.  Don’t yell your requests from upstairs! This makes it really easy to ignore you.  The younger the child, the more critical it is to give instructions to them nearby.
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 6:  Use a gesture to demonstrate what you want them to do.   For example, point to the socks you want them to pick up.  Or, show them how to clean a plate properly- then let them do the rest of the dishes.  SHOWING your child what you want in combination with TELLING them what you want is more effective.
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 7: For more complicated tasks or with younger children, Ask THEM to rephrase what you want.  This not only clarifies the communication but, it also gets the child to think about what is being asked of them.
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 8:  Praise the child if they begin to move on your request within 5 seconds.  Even though they haven’t finished what you want them to do, praise them right away for starting.  Compliance is a desirable behavior, so tell them how much you appreciate that they were listening and took action immediately!
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 9: Give ONE warning.  Just one. Not 10, not 3, not even 2.  Give one warning and tell the child what the consequence will be.
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 10:  Don’t make your consequence something you don’t want to back up!  It has to be something that you will follow through on easily.
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 11: Praise them again when the task is completed.  You may also want to establish a reward system for good behavior.   I am a big believer in positive reinforcement and praising my kids A LOT.  Praising the desirable behavior is critical!
  • How to Talk to Kids Tip 12:  Follow through on your punishment or consequence if they were not compliant.  Having said that, if the child attempted to comply, but fell short of your expectations, then give them another chance to prove themselves.  For example: IF I asked my son to clean his room, but he only picked up his clothes from the floor but didn’t make his bed- then I wouldn’t punish him for NOT cleaning his room.  Instead, I go back to giving clear, concise directions. I gesture to the bed to show him it is still unacceptable, and then I allow him to comply and correct. Then I would reward or praise him when he meets my expectations. 

Discipline is one of the hardest things about parenting, but like exercise, we got to do it.  We need to teach our kids specific life skills and provide them boundaries to keep them safe and grow them into successful adults.  

WATCH an Impactful Parent short video on the basics of Discipline!

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