I know what you’re thinking: there is no magical phrase that will end whining.
And I get it.
When all 4 of my kids are screaming, there’s a puddle of pee on my floor, and my house looks like news footage after a tornado, it certainly doesn’t feel like any magical phrase is going to save me.
(Unless, of course, that phrase is “here’s a million dollars and a half-gallon of Breyer’s Mint Chocolate ice cream”.)
So it’s with a distinct understanding of the difficulties of motherhood that I claim to have a phrase that will change your life and transform your home.
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It will end whining and actually get yours kids excited to help out.
I know, because that’s what happened in our home.
My kids can destroy my house in way that defy physics. After dosing n the couch for a few minutes to a tidy room, I’ll awake to a house that looks like it’s been ransacked by burglars.
And the second I would try to get my two oldest (ransacking burglars aged 6 and 5) to help out it would be as though I’d just asked them to saw off their own arms.
Or suddenly their bodies would cease to function entirely. In an instant, they would go from happily playing to lying spread eagle on the floor whimpering and exclaiming that they were simply too tired to put away a toy or hang up a backpack.
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So much whining.
Frustrated, I would just clean it all myself. Which just of course reinforced to my children that enough theatrics and whining will force mom to clean everything anyways.
But then I learned a simple phrase in our incredible Conscious Discipline parenting class (summarized in this AMAZING book). Now, my girls actively look for way to help each other and me.
It was a miracle, pure and simple. You want the magic?
Yeah, you do.
THE MAGIC: TO END WHINING & GET KIDS TO HELP
Here’s what you say depending on their actions:
You (what they did ) , so (how it helped/impact) . That was so helpful!
This phrase points out what they did, how it’s been helpful, and it let’s them know that they have made a positive contribution to your home.
- “You gave your sister a hug after she got hurt so that she would feel better. That was so helpful!”
- “You brought your dishes to the sink, so mama could wash it. That was so helpful!”
- “You followed directions without complaining, so we finished quickly and everyone is happy. That was so helpful!”
- “You put away your toys, so that no one trips on them. Plus, it’s made the room look so nice. That was so helpful!
Simple, right? But it is seriously a game-changer. Here’s why:
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HOW IT HELPS YOUR CHILD:
- Shows the child that you are noticing the good they do. It makes them feel good, which makes them want to get noticed more for helpful behavior.
- Builds self-esteem. This points out the impact of their actions. So they can see the positive impact that they can have on the people and things around them. They see that they can make a big difference.
- Shows kids they get much more desirable attention for helping than for whining. Kids crave attention and praise. This gives them both while teaching them to be helpful.
HOW IT HELPS YOU:
- It gets you noticing good behavior, instead of focusing on bad.
- You’ll have waaaaay less whining in your home.
As stressed out moms, we often notice our children’s poor behavior and while completely missing the good that they do. After all, bad behavior is often more effective at getting our attention! You may not notice your children playing nicely together, but the minute conflict arises…
“Don’t bite your sister!”
“We do not use those words! TIME OUT!!!”
But pointing out poor behavior doesn’t usually result in children suddenly turning into angels. At least not in my experience.
When it comes to your child’s behavior, what you notice, you get more of.
Notice the bad, get more of it. Notice the good, and your child will work hard to get recognized for the good they are doing.
Think about how you’d react if your husband came home and the first words out of his mouth were critical about the state of the house? All while completely ignoring that you managed to keep everyone alive and put some dinner on the table (we all know this is sometimes a major feat).
Pointing out deficiencies while ignoring the positive doesn’t exactly inspire good feelings. On the other hand, we are encouraged when we hear what we are doing RIGHT.
Kids are the same way.
Keeping your eyes peeled for helpful behavior and then pointing it out to your child will result in your child looking for ways to be helpful.
While you will probably notice an immediate change, long-lasting results will come with consistently using the phrase. Which means consistently noticing good behavior and helping your child see the impact of their actions.
YOU CAN END WHINING & GET YOUR KIDS EXCITED TO HELP
You can teach kids to help others by noticing when they are helpful. Try this phrase out and see what happens in your family. In noticing the good your children do, you will empower them.
You will inspire your kids to look for ways to be helpful, raise their self esteem and make them aware of how they contribute.
You’ve got this, mama!
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I really like this idea! It makes so much sense, and really has no chance of backfiring that I can see. One thing that I hate about so many ways to discipline or changing children’s behavior is that when I try them I’m often really unsure if I’m actually helping the situation or making it worse/causing some sort of long term harm or damaging my relationship with them. I end up very conflicted about how to handle different situations. This is so simple and clearly a positive method all around.
You’ll have to let me know how it goes for you guys!