Q: Recently the only way I can get my 6-year-old and 5-year-old to know i mean business is to scream. I was never a screamer and I am not proud of this, it has just come to this and I am not aware of why. I hate it. I want this to change. Please help!
Having young kiddos around is bound to be frustrating at times. And now that yours are beyond the toddler stage, they're learning fast how to "push your buttons". It sounds like they've learned that they can ignore you until you lose your cool. Try these preschooler-tested tips to regain control over your little ones.
Let them know -- when they're receptive -- that you'll be trying something fun and better to get their attention. Tell them how helpful they are when they look with their eyes and listen with their ears when you need them to do so.
With their help, create an attention-getting sound: A whistle, a special clap, or a silly song. Use it EVERY time. Let this be their cue to pay attention.
Get down on THEIR level. Make eye contact, and gently place a hand on their shoulders to get their attention.
Speak SOFTLY. Young children are used to loud voices. Whispers are often more effective.
Repeat if needed. The first child to give you their attention gets extra praise.
Show them by experience that a quick response to your attention-getting sound will result in lots of appreciation, praise, and kudos.
Get their attention BEFORE you get too aggravated. Waiting until you've got steam coming out of your ears guarantees more stress for everyone.
Practice these tips, and you'll be back in charge in no time!