Tuesday, September 21, 2021

5 Sneaky Parenting Hacks to Get Your Kids to Obey (No Yelling!)

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In the last 17 years of wiping butts and vacuuming up Legos, I've come across a lot of parenting hacks. Some were better than others, and some were so downright brilliant I'm upset I didn't discover them earlier! 

Your mileage may vary depending on the ages and personalities of your kids, but allow me to share with you some of my absolute favorites.

Even good kids don't listen sometimes. Instead of yelling or disciplining, try these 5 easy parenting hacks that naturally make kids want to obey. (We don't know why they work, but they do!) #kids #parentingtips #parentingadvice #momhacks

I've been using these for years, but it has to be said: these "hacks" are like Band-Aids. They're quick fixes for generally good listeners, but not exactly long-term solutions for kids who never listen. 

(If you're ready to tear your hair out because your kids ignore every word you say, I suggest trying the strategies in this book instead.) 

Countdown: T-Minus 10 Seconds

This sounds like counting to three but it totally isn't. Instead of counting to a certain number and then the kids get in trouble, you're telling them how many seconds until a specified activity is going to occur. Think of it like the countdown to a shuttle launch.

What you're going to do is use your most dramatic voice to announce "It's time for lunch in 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1! Good job getting to the table, guys. Let's eat!" My goal is to sound super-excited about it, so the kids' competitive drive kicks in and they try to make it to the table before I hit zero (or at least don't miss the beginning of dinner.)

Slowly List Who's Obeying

Before bedtime our family gets together for kneeling prayer, and sometimes the kids are a little rowdy. (And by that, I mean they won't stop whacking each other with light sabers and doing quadruple gainers off the couch.) So I will look around and, in a positive voice, name the people I see who are quiet and ready for the prayer. 

And if none of the kids are? I'll literally say, "Who's ready for prayer? Let's see, Mommy's ready... Daddy's ready..." and they'll often fall right in line like they can't wait to get named, too. There's just something about that dopamine hit of praise and you should absolutely leverage it. (Note: I don't call out anyone for misbehaving, I just name everyone who is behaving.)

10-Minute Deep Fake

In many ways, giving your kids a choice is dumb parenting advice. When asked "Do you want to clean up your cars or your blocks first?" ten out of ten kids will say "Neither!" and keep playing. But there's a better way that actually does work.

About 10 minutes before you want your kids to do something unpleasant, ask them: "Do you want to clean up your toys now or in ten minutes?" It'll shock precisely no one when they answer "Ten minutes," but in the end they'll feel like they scored extra playtime and you'll get exactly what you wanted. 

If they still complain, a reminder that they already got 10 extra minutes (and might not next time if they don't cooperate) is usually enough to make them roll their eyes and go do it.

Tack Your Request onto a "Yes"

Make a mental note of a quick chore or something you'd like your kids to do in the back of your mind, and then save it for the right moment. Wait until they ask "Can I/we ____________?" you can cheerfully answer, "Yes, right after you put away your shoes and backpack!"

For some reason, saying "Absolutely, let's just do [insert annoying thing you don't like doing] first!" is much more well-received than me following them around asking them to pick up after themselves. (To read about a few quick clean-up games I've been known to use on occasion in our house, click here.)

Put It On a List

What things do you find yourself asking your kids to do every day? Put it on a list, and make something they really like to do (in our house, it's screen time) conditional on completion of the list. It may take some adjustment, but trust me: you'll love outsourcing some of your Nag Machine duties.

Each of our four youngest kids have lists in a page protector on the wall, with things like doing your homework, packing tomorrow's lunch, playing outside, and practicing piano. They cross off items with a whiteboard marker as they go and wipe it off to do it again the next day.

And if all else fails, you could always try the hack I discovered my 15-year-old has been using when Phillip and I are out of the house: turn the computer volume up and blast Minecraft music. The kids drop everything and come running, and she never even has to raise her voice.

I'm raising a smarter version of myself, people.

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PurpleSlob said...

First I'd have to get PP OFF Minecraft! lol Little is always ready to do whatever, as long as we say she can go when we leave the house!!

Unknown said...

I love that smarter version! Will definitely put these in my back pocket for grandkids. Mom