20 Phrases to Use When Your Kids Won’t Listen

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Children, especially during the terrible twos, can be a challenge to handle at times. However, once you take a step back, you’ll realize that they are simply mirroring what they see and hear you do. When you communicate with your children in a calm and loving manner, you will see them drastically change. Here are 20 phrases to use when you just can’t get your kids to listen.

20 Phrases for Kids When They Won't Listen

20 Phrases When Your Kids Won’t Listen

1. “What do you need to remember?”

Instead of saying, “be careful!” all the time, instead ask them what they need to remember when doing certain activities. This will give them a chance to remember what you are teaching them and apply what they are learning.

2. “Please talk softly.”

No one likes to hear “be quiet!” or “stop yelling!” all the time. Instead, turn the phrase into a more positive one. If your child simply is naturally loud, direct them someplace that they can go and be loud in. If you want them to be quiet, whispering yourself will automatically help them tone it down in a gentle way.

3. “What did you learn from this mistake?”

Instead of shaming or blaming your child for their mistakes, you can have them reflect on what they learned from it. This will help them to not make the same mistake again.

4. “Please ___”

We don’t normally tell any other person we are talking to what we don’t want to have or do, so why are our children any different? Stay away from “No” and “Don’t” and ask them politely what you actually want them to do instead.

5. “Would you like to do it on your own or have me help you?”

Kids loving having a choice when it comes to doing things. The simple thought that they get to decide what happens empowers them and excites them, even between doing chores or getting ready for the day.

6. “We are on cheetah time today and need to move fast!”

Make things interesting and exciting for your child. Instead of telling them to hurry up, use a fast or quick animal that they love and can act like to get them moving during the day.

7. “Stop, breathe, now ask for what you want.”

When your child whines or throws a fit, start by always asking them to take a deep breath to help them calm down. Breathe together and then you will both be relaxed and things will go over much more smoothly.

8. “Let’s add that toy you want to your birthday list.”

Instead of spoiling your child and getting them everything they want at the store, suggest putting things on the birthday list. If you can’t or don’t want to buy it, instead of blaming your finances, this suggestion will leave it on a positive note.

9. “Do you want to leave now or in ten minutes?”

Again, children love to make the decisions instead of being told what to do all the time, especially when it comes to leaving a place they don’t want to.

10. “Respect yourself and others.”

Instead of generally saying, “be good” or “be kind”, you need to be more specific. Ask them exactly what you want them to do while they are in the park or at a party.

11. “I need you to _____________.”

Just like with adults, “I” statements are so much better than “you” statements. When you tell your child what you need them to do for you, they are more likely to get it done.

12. “Use your teamwork skills.”

Don’t use negative phrases to your child such as “you were being mean or bossy” as that does not empower them. Find ways to empower them and explain how to be a better friend or teammate instead.

13. “How will you take care of yourself?”

This will teach your child to take care of their emotions on their own, so they won’t have to rely on you all the time. It empowers them to make their own choices regarding their emotional or physical state.

14. “It’s okay to cry.”

Never tell your child “don’t cry.” It is perfectly fine for them to experience their emotions and cry. Teach your kid to move through their emotions rather than not to have them.

15. “I’ll stop, breathe, and wait for you to finish.”

This is mainly for us as parents. We need to take a deep breath and let our children do things their way at certain times. We need to calm down and not rush things.

16. “I am not ok with ___________—yet.”

When you express our concerns and fears, our children accept it much better than just being told what not to do.

17. “I love you no matter what.”

Always, always have unconditional love for your child. It is so crucial.

18. “You care, so I’d love for you to decide.”

Sometimes, our kids will want to make a decision which simply does not matter. Instead of getting frustrated at that, let them make the choice. It will empower them and make them happy.

19. “How are you feeling?”

Instead of getting upset right away at your kid crying or being upset, take time to let them explain the reason behind and let them tell you how they are feeling. It will help them recognize their own emotions and how to work through them.

20. “I believe in you and am here to support you.”

Oftentimes our children want to do things that they will struggle with. Instead of taking over, let them know you support them and will help them with whatever they need.

These 20 phrases to use when your kids won’t listen will not come naturally. They take time and a lot of patience. However, when you can get into a habit of speaking more positively to your child, you will notice they will misbehave a lot less.

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