The Best Trick I Know

I feel like I should share the best parenting tool I ever learned. I can't even tell you where or when I discovered it, but it is probably the one thing that I use every day.

I'll call it - Giving Choices.

So, this is how it works. Instead of saying, "Come and eat!" I say, "Its time to eat, do you want to walk to the table or do you want me to carry you there?"

The first option is often met with a flat out - no. But, somehow using different words helps children cooperate - it gives them a choice.

Here are a few more examples...

Instead of, "Its time to come inside" (which seems so simple to say but kids never just do it) Try starting the same way, but add a choice..."Its time to come inside. Would you like to walk up the stairs all by yourself or do you want me to hold your hand?"
Instead of, "Its time to get out of the tub," try something like, "Would you like to take out the plug now or do you want me to?"

Instead of "Get dressed!" I say, "Its time to get dressed - do you want me to pick the clothes today or do you want to?"

Instead of "Pick up your toys!" I could say, "'Its time to pick up your toys; do you want to put them away fast or slow?" If the answer is fast you could set a timer.

Be sure to give two options you can live with - but it is really the best trick I know. Anyhow, whenever you are given a flat out - no - just rephrase. Try the option thing instead of reasoning.

When I was growing up there were some Saturdays my mom would ask us to either clean up our rooms or dance with her...so here's to dancing and having fun. Choices can be fun!

Painting: The Village Girl and The Imaginative Boy both by Robert Henri - who I love by the by


hannah m said...

This is the best trick ever. I used it on a daily basis as a teacher of kinders and 1st graders. It was empowering for those kids that needed choice and resist being asked to do something--and I still got what I wanted! It's magic, really!

Ann said...

i've used choices in the past and it's great! i already remind lucy to 'make a good choice' and give her choices, even though she doesn't get it yet. hopefully by the time she does, i'll be in good practice!

Annie said...

What a great trick. I've always given choices but I don't think that they've been the right choices. Since reading this post, the choices are really working at our house. Thank you!