“If I have to tell you one more time...!”
How many mornings do you utter a phrase similar to this one when speaking to your child?
We get it.
Mornings are stressful. Not only do we need to get our kids dressed and out the door at indecent times (Why, oh why, can’t the world start the day at 10:00 am?), but we have to get ourselves ready for our own busy days!
Half dressed, we’re tripping over shoes in the hallway and searching frantically for homework that we think the dog may have actually eaten as we hastily send our kids to their rooms to “get ready for school.”
Only, when we go to check on them 10 minutes later, we find them engrossed on the floor in a fierce fantasy of fairies and fire-breathing dragons.
And that’s when we hit the ceiling.
That’s when our tempers flare.
That’s when our children wince as our voices reach unearthly decibels.
And they do one of two things: slump off to the bathroom to brush their teeth, defeated and sad, or – they fight. They match our decibels... and then we get really mad.
Mornings without workable routines are ruining our parent and child relationships.
Why Nagging Doesn’t Work
The tasks we ask of our children really aren’t that hard -- from our perspective. Telling our children to get ready seems to be straightforward and clear.
But kids don’t always know what “get ready” means. Have we ever fully explained it? Do they have something to refer to when they forget a step in their routine?
And if your child has ADHD, she can be highly distractible. Shouting “Get ready!” over and over causes stress.
Do you perform at your best under stress? We sure don’t!
And oh, the resentment. Who wants to be told again and again what to do? Kids learn to tune out nagging because it’s just so awful to hear -- and it isn’t constructive.
Nagging focuses on what a person isn’t doing, rather than on what is being done right -- which can cause your child to feel unworthy. It tears down instead of builds up.
And when it does work from time to time? It’s just a temporary fix. Your child puts his shoes on, but he hasn’t learned a behavior. He’s just learned to comply so he doesn’t have to keep listening to your nagging.
“Studies show that nagging does not improve behavior – it actually worsens it. Nagging is especially defeating in kids with a poor self-image. Nagging and repeating commands make kids nervous.” – Online Parenting Coach
No wonder we begin to feel yucky when we nag; no wonder we feel our relationships suffer.
What to Do Instead
Focus on the Positive
- Instead of:
“You didn’t brush your teeth! Now we’re going to be late!”
“You already have your backpack ready? That’s one step closer! Now see how fast you can get upstairs to brush your teeth.”
Briefly Explain Your Reasoning
- Instead of:
“Stop talking so much while you eat! You’re running out of time!”
“The bus will be here soon, and I really want you to have a healthy breakfast so your brain can stay charged up.”
Kids know when they mess up.
- Instead of:
“You spilled the milk? Now we’re going to be late!”
Handing your child a paper towel. He’ll appreciate not being ripped apart for something he already feels bad about. Give him a squeeze and thank him for cleaning up.
Step Back and Look at What Your Child Needs
Is your child always forgetting her homework on the kitchen table? Instead of jumping to criticize her, look at what she needs. Does she need a routine?
How Predictable Transitions Remove Nagging
When your child can get used to and anticipate a step in a routine, he’ll be much more likely to accomplish his tasks. Transitions are difficult, so following a guided structure helps remove any difficulty.
Brili provides predictable transitions your kids can get used to and anticipate. The sequencing and routine practice of repetitive tasks helps them develop good habits they can carry into other areas of their life.
And the most important thing -- it’s fun! Kids try to beat the clock as they can clearly see time diminishing. And they can easily see what’s coming up as the next task’s icon hovers to the right – so the transition is painless.
When your child is able to more easily handle his routine, you don’t have to nag. Your child learns responsibility, and you get more opportunities to speak positively to your child. Any parent and child relationship is bound to improve under that formula.
Here’s to less nagging! And here’s to more time and energy for hugs!