3 Secrets Teachers Use to Get Children to Obey

teacher secrets

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!”

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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.

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What tips can you share for getting your children to obey?

What do you think?

3 Secrets Teachers Use to Get Children to Obey

Natalie is a wife, mom of a five year old son and three year old twin girls, wannabe foodie, lover of wine and of all things social media. She is the author of Mommy of a Monster and Twins, her personal blog where she writes honestly about the good, bad, and ugly of parenting. In her free time, which she rarely has anymore, she reads, cooks, gardens, works as a freelance writer and social media consultant, and drinks wine…lots of wine. ... More

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3 comments

  1. Profile photo of Kayla Kayla says:

    Im a preschool teacher and when you do what you said you were going to do they will actually believe you from there on. Dont lie to those childdren or they wont believe you again… They are very smart!

  2. Profile photo of Alison LeeAuthor Alison Lee says:

    I love these tips, Natalie! My husband is a great maker-upper of rhymes and songs, and he does it all the time with our 3 year old. No wonder he listens to him more 🙂

  3. Profile photo of ErinF ErinF says:

    I remember watching my mom use these tactics in her kindergarten classroom. She’d play the piano to her songs telling the kids it was clean-up time, etc., and they’d happily do whatever was sung. When she wanted the kids to settle down, she’d say, "One, two, three, quiet," each word getting progressively softer until "quiet" was a whisper, and it worked.

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