Parenting is tough and when it comes to discipline, that’s even tougher. The thing is, parents, tend to talk too much when they’re trying to explain, coax or reason with their kids and the message can get lost in all those words. “There’s a limit to how much verbiage developing brains can process,” explains Dr. Joan Ershler, director of the Waisman Early Childhood Program at the University of Wisconsin to Parents.com. “So short and simple works best.”
These one-liners are brief, direct, and can replace all that talking. And maybe they’ll work magic for your interactions with your kids. Here is what we found on Parents.com:
- “I know; It’s hard” – When your little kid is having big emotions, this line, along with a pat on the back and a sincere frowny face, can be surprisingly soothing because it acknowledges that yeah, it is terrible when your sock is on “wrong.”
- “Walk, please!” – Instead of firing off a “don’t run!” giving a positive direction can work faster than reasoning. When you say something like “stop arguing,” your child has to stop the action AND think of what to do next, explains Dr Ershler, but telling them what to do next helps.
- “Try again” – This works for all kinds of unwanted behavior, like yelling, taking a toy from someone and being rude. Kids may cooperate more if they have some control over a situation, so saying something like this or “let’s have a redo” gives them a chance to behave differently without the guilt.
- “What did I say?” – This one comes down to tone because you don’t want it to sound like you’re scolding them. But genuinely asking them to tell you what you said can be a good reminder of what they’re supposed to be doing.
- “I love you too much to argue” – For the ultimate in keeping it simple, these seven words can’t be beat. This phrase can shut down pretty much anything instantly.
- “I can’t understand you when you use that voice” – This is a helpful alternative to the old “stop whining!” And when your kid speaks in a normal voice, you can praise them for making a good choice.
- “How do we ask?” – It’s an ongoing battle to get kids to remember their manners, but instead of nagging, this prompt can help them remember the rules and ask politely.