how to talk to your kids so they’ll listen

Being a parent is one of the most creative things I’ve ever done.

From the variety of foods I give my children to coming up with craft ideas to keep the kids entertained, I also have to come up with creative ways to speak to them.

One thing I’m working on this week to be a better mother is to speak positively to my children – telling them what to do instead of what not to do.

how to talk to kids - positive talk

how to talk to your kids

According to Sarah Joseph form Prenatal to Parenting…

…our brains process information in images. So when you say “don’t stand on the chair” your child imagines himself standing on a chair, which means he’s more likely to stand on the chair. Conversely when we use positive language we tell kids what to do instead of what not to do, so they are more likely to listen.

This was such an eye opener as to why kids always do the opposite of what you tell them to do! It’s just my natural reaction to tell my daughter not to throw food on the ground or not to touch certain things.

how to talk to kids so they

I’m actually inviting my children to do things I don’t want them to do!

So now I’m rephrasing my thoughts.

‘Keep the sand in the box please.’

‘Keep your dress down please.’ (yes, she likes to flip her dress up…I don’t know why. She can’t be the only girl that does this, right?)

‘Keep your hands to yourself and leave your brother alone.’ (said in a very stern tone with no please. I mean business!)

And this works!!! Since I’ve been speaking to Elle more positively, I haven’t had to repeat myself as many times as before. High five!

practice makes perfect

I am finding that speaking positively to your children takes practice. There are many times when I blurted out negative requests without thinking and Elle does exactly what I tell her not to do, which then reminds me to speak positively. There are other times I’m about to speak negatively and I catch myself just in time to switch my frame of mine and switch my words.

how to talk to kids so theySpeaking positively to my children takes practice and as I’m using this technique more and more, I’m getting better at it. I’m sure pretty soon it’ll be second nature to me and I’ll have the most well behaved children on the block.


amy lee signature for the connection we share

This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about using positive language with others. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of unplugging.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Tips for making the Positive Comments outweigh the negative in your child’s day
Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting shares a startling stat and asks for your help in changing the numbers.

Watch Your Words
Amber from feels better about her parenting when she’s using more positive language.

The Power of Words – Peaceful Parenting Challenge Week 7
Katrina from Kalem Photography is trying to figure out positive phrasing for some things she’d like her 2 year old to stop doing.

Week 7 – Watch Your Language!
Amanda from Sticky Hands suggests we start saying out loud things you love and things you want to happen.

Language and Distractions- Peaceful Parenting Challenge: Week 7
Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat is a bit distracted.

Watch Your Language!
Lolly from My Journey Home is attempting to communicate positively with her teen.

Positive Communication
Ricky from Daddy Blogger  realized how often the words “Don’t” and “Can’t” and “No” tend to pop up in our conversations with our kids. | Watch Your Words! -

[…] How to talk to your kids – Amy from The Connection We Share discovers the power of using positive language with your kids. […]

Tairalyn Ciulla -

Great Post! It’s a great way to take a positive spin on saying no to your children.

Robyn Good -

I am guilty at times of telling my daughter what to do instead of what not to do. Great article.

how to get your kids to smile for pictures – part 2 | Connect & Bond With The People You Love -

[…] Telling a child not to do something pretty much guarantees they’ll do the opposite, right? Use reverse psychology to your benefit here. “Whatever you do, don’t smile. Do. Not. Smile. Don’t do it!” You can only hide a smile for so long before it makes it debut. […]