3 Secrets Teachers Use to Get Children to Obey
I regularly volunteer in my son Ethan’s kindergarten class, and what is so amazing to me is how the kids obey his teacher with little to no resistance. She has 26 students who do what she tells them to do all day long. I have 3 kids at home who I have a hard time getting to do what I say. What does she do differently than I do? What does she know that I don’t?
Don’t get me wrong, I know kids are always better behaved for others than they are for their parents, but I also know there are some tricks out there for getting kids to pay attention and listen; here are three of my favorites.
Get Your Children’s Attention by Singing, Whispering, and Rhyming
I think that kids hear singing and automatically think ‘fun’. Even with my own kids, if they hear singing they quickly quiet down to listen. Try to sing your request – the kids immediately stop what they are doing to figure out what you are singing. This one works!
Making up silly rhymes to communicate your instructions will always grab kids’ attention. The kids think it’s hilarious when I say “If you don’t want to get thinner, then come get your dinner!”
Whispering will make kids have to quiet down to hear you. And when necessary, I just keep getting quieter until I actually have to whisper in their ears to get them to hear me.
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!
Kids love challenges, and races are big at our house. I noticed that Ethan’s teacher would say things like “Okay, clean up and let’s see who can get back to their seat first!”
Racing can help children learn to hurry and learn time management. For example, much like my kids, maybe your kids hate to clean up. Grab a stopwatch or set a timer, and have them race to see who can clean up all of their toys first. Set rules and standards beforehand so they aren’t just throwing everything under their beds. Make sure you give them a specific time to beat as well.
Once each “race” is complete, have them help you create a chart that shows the results each time your children finish the job. At the end of the week, as long as they don’t exceed the designated time, give them a special treat like a Disney movie with popcorn. At school, Ethan’s teacher allows the students to pick out of the treasure box.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Ethan’s teacher never negotiates or gives in once she gives them a task or sets an expectation. When it’s time for the kids to get to work, she says it once and the kids do it. If they don’t, there are consequences.
How can you do this at home? Let’s say you want your child to do homework. I tell Ethan “In 5 minutes you have to start your homework.” When the five minutes are up, I tell him definitively and matter-of-factly he has to start it. And then I don’t give in or change my mind. I’ve learned that it takes a few tries, but when the kids realize you mean business, this works for almost every situation.
What tips can you share for getting your children to obey?