It’s time to stop the Yes/No questions

For the rest of the day, listen to yourself when you talk to your kids. I did this recently and was struck by how many times I asked my kids a Yes/No question, when instead I meant to be giving instruction. No wonder I was hearing so many No’s!

Parents are late trying to get out the door while mother pulls little girl's hand to hurry up“Okay kids, how about we all tidy the room up?”

“Can you please get ready to go?”

And the best phrase is when I tack on that innocent “okay”.

“After dinner, it’s time for a bath, okay?”  We ask okay, because in our minds we are seeking validation. It’s a “did you understand me?” But believe me, kids are hearing a Yes/No question.

Wow. Talk about giving kids all the power! You often hear parenting experts recommend giving children choices, but you don’t want the choice to be between whether they get dressed or not. Instead, the choice is, “are you wearing your blue shirt or your red shirt today?”

It’s a simple thing but one that teachers everywhere know to be true. Could you imagine if a teacher instructed a class of students by asking Yes/No questions? “Class, how about we stop gym now?” “Please come inside, okay?” “Can we work on trigonometry?” It makes me laugh just thinking about it!

I’m not saying we need to sound like drill sergeants! Connecting with your child first can help deliver instructions in a positive way and you’ll have a better chance of them following through. For example, you could comment on how well they are concentrating on a task: “You are doing a great job finishing up your homework.” Once you have connected and your child is paying attention, it’s a good time to tell them what’s coming next: “In 5 minutes it is time to go upstairs to get ready for bed.”

Mother talking to daughter who is writing

These days I try to be clear with instructions without a Yes/No question: “After dinner, it’s time for bath.” “It’s time to get dressed.” “We need to tidy up the room now.”

If I feel that crazy urge for validation I bite my tongue or say, “Do you understand?” Or “Did you hear me?”

Give it a try – listen to yourself when you give instructions to your kids. Are your instructions in the form of a Yes/No question? If not, hats off to you! (Are you a teacher?? 😉 )

Looking for more handy tips to stop having to nag? Check out another great blog post: “Are you tired of nagging? This simple strategy can help!” or connect with us:

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8 tips to help support a friend with infertility

Disappointed woman finding out pregnancy testI went through infertility before I became a mother. Infertility is often a profound rollercoaster of hope, grief, loneliness and helplessness that overwhelms many who are struggling to have children.

If you know a friend or family member struggling – chances are you do as 1 in 6 couples in Canada face infertility – you might be wondering how you can show your support. I have come up with 8 tips that I found especially helpful during this difficult time: Continue reading

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Our kids make great teachers

My tween and teens are a lot more tech-savvy than I am. They are naturally adept with today’s technology and have a skill for trouble shooting. I frequently find myself asking to draw on their expertise when I am learning a new social media app or gadget. Asking them to teach me how to do something sometimes gets me an impatient chuckle and accompanying eye roll – “Oh, Mom” – but it also allows us to trade places as they take on the role of the more experienced  mentor and I do my best to role model how to be an open minded learner by accepting feedback and taking it all in.

A great strategy for learning something is teaching it to someone else. One good way to help your teen with their school work is to ask them to teach you. It can be a positive part of their homework habits. The age old saying “while we teach, we learn” holds very true. Sharing their knowledge can also help your teen to build their own enjoyment and interest in a particular topic and help them retain information. I have learned trigonometry and WWII just by asking my 16-year old to fill me in on what she’s doing in class. So we both benefit. Continue reading

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Mom versus mascara in the battle of the make-up

Mascara.  It’s a simple word, but somehow it has become the bane of my existence. Really and truly.

I’ve never had any hard-and-fast rules when it comes to make-up use and my four daughters. Usually, if something seems reasonable it is worth consideration.

I remember clearly telling my oldest, when she started high school, “you know, if you would like to wear some make-up I am ok with that”.  She gave me a non-committal shrug of the shoulders and off she went.  She can be seen once in a while wearing mascara and on occasion she takes it to the next level by throwing on some neutral lip balm.  My 14-year-old is the same. Very little interest.

Then came #3. Bless her. She loves all things glam and glitter. And she LOVES make up.

Time for mascara!

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Positive parenting. Is it worth it?

I am officially the mother of a 16 year old! How on earth did that happen? How is it that I am the mother of teenage kids! I never imagined I would be that old or that I would be equipped to parent a teen! I had preconceived notions that parenting teens would be a nightmare. Actually its quite the opposite. It’s so much fun! Yes fun! I’m in awe at how my kids are turning into young adults that I am so proud of. I think to myself, how did I get here?

I started reflecting on my parenting journey just recently when I saw friends with younger children dealing with challenging behaviours. They asked me, (or should I say pleaded with me) “tell me it gets easier”? Continue reading

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New to Canada? How to embrace winter!

When my parents told me we were moving to Canada, I remember being so excited to see snow for the first time. I couldn’t wait to make a snowman like the ones I had seen in the movies. You can imagine my disappointment when I looked out the plane window and didn’t see any snow anywhere. I was sad – but not for long! Three days after arriving in Canada, I woke up to see a white blanket of snow covering the ground! “Finally!” I   thought. Continue reading

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What is true happiness? Have you found it?

Portrait of girl outdoorsBe happy. It sounds so simple, but is it really that easy? When you ask parents what they want for their kids when they grow up, many will often include the word “happy” in their descriptors. “I’d like to see my kids… healthy, happy, productive…” Whatever words you choose, often the emotion of happiness enters into play.

I notice it even more around the holidays when parents are running around trying to make their kids happy by finding that perfect gift. But what is happiness anyway? Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Mental Health, Parenting, Physical Health, preschoolers, School-aged Children, stress, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments