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“Huh?” “What did you say?” “I didn’t hear you say that!”  

Sound familiar?  If you have spent any time with children, these responses are probably all too common.

When our oldest child Emma was a toddler, I found myself repeating what I had just said over and over again, driving myself insane. It was starting to wear on me and I was becoming increasingly frustrated.  One day I finally said “What did you hear me say?” and the most phenomenal thing happened: she repeated back to me almost word for word what I had just said. Was is really that simple?
 
Now I use this question daily with our daughters.  It helps me to gauge how much of my instruction they have absorbed.  It has become one of my most valuable tools in becoming the kind of parent I want to be.

Another key phrase I use to help keep me sane as a mother is, “Change your tone please”.  This is especially helpful when children get a bad case of the whines.  Here is a small example:

Child: “Moooooooooooom, IIIIIII’mmmmmmmmm hhhuuuuuuuunngryyyyy!”   

Me: “Change your tone please!”

Child: “Mom, I am hungry.  Would you please get me a snack?”

Me:  “Thank you for changing your tone. Yes, I will get you a snack.”

It sounds so simple, but it really does work.  Just four simple words and it helps remind them how to use manners and that the tone of their voice is not appropriate.  It even works with our two-year-old.

“What did you hear me say?” and “Change your tone please” are great tools to help you be able to keep the lines of communication open and healthy between you and your child, and help you as a mother to stay sane. 

Who doesn’t want that?

“Huh?” “What did you say?” “I didn’t hear you say that!”  

Sound familiar?  If you have spent any time with children, these responses are probably all too common.

When our oldest child Emma was a toddler, I found myself repeating what I had just said over and over again, driving myself insane. It was starting to wear on me and I was becoming increasingly frustrated.  One day I finally said “What did you hear me say?” and the most phenomenal thing happened: she repeated back to me almost word for word what I had just said. Was is really that simple?
 
Now I use this question daily with our daughters.  It helps me to gauge how much of my instruction they have absorbed.  It has become one of my most valuable tools in becoming the kind of parent I want to be.

Another key phrase I use to help keep me sane as a mother is, “Change your tone please”.  This is especially helpful when children get a bad case of the whines.  Here is a small example:

Child: “Moooooooooooom, IIIIIII’mmmmmmmmm hhhuuuuuuuunngryyyyy!”   

Me: “Change your tone please!”

Child: “Mom, I am hungry.  Would you please get me a snack?”

Me:  “Thank you for changing your tone. Yes, I will get you a snack.”

It sounds so simple, but it really does work.  Just four simple words and it helps remind them how to use manners and that the tone of their voice is not appropriate.  It even works with our two-year-old.

“What did you hear me say?” and “Change your tone please” are great tools to help you be able to keep the lines of communication open and healthy between you and your child, and help you as a mother to stay sane. 

Who doesn’t want that?

QUESTION:  What are some ways that you have found to make yourself clear to your children?

CHALLENGE:  Next time you feel yourself going insane, ask yourself if maybe there is a different way to approach the situation.  Is there another way of saying what your children need to hear?

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