8 Alternatives to Nagging!

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I am a nag

! Yes, I confess, a nag. Admittedly I am less of a nag now than I once was, but a nag nonetheless. Should you survey my daughters and my husband they will undoubtedly agree. To be certain that we are all on the same page with what a nag is I share with you that Dictionary.com defines nag as to annoy by persistent faultfinding, complaints, or demands. Can you relate to this definition? Are you a nag, self-proclaimed or judged as such? Then keep reading because I want to share with you 8 tools that I have learned through Positive Discipline that seriously decrease my nagging time, and I’m finding greater joy in parenting because of them.

1. Act without talking: when you need your child to cooperate with something you have asked him to do once, and he doesn’t follow through try gently putting your hand on his shoulder and walking him to the place where the task takes place. Or, when your child is doing their best to interrupt you while you are on the phone, simply reach out and rub her arm without looking at her, let her know you are aware that she needs you but you aren’t responding to her verbally right now. She’ll either stay with you while you finish your call or she’ll walk away and try again later. (Get it, you aren’t nagging—feels good, doesn’t it?)

2. Give Limited Choices: Children want to have power and be in control, so let them. “Will you get in your car seat by yourself, or would you like me to help you?” “Would you like peas or corn for dinner?” “Do you want to wear the red shoes or the white ones?” With this we aren’t nagging either, simply giving choices and waiting while children decide for themselves. It’s a win/win.

3. Make a reasonable request in 10 words or less, and wait for child to respond. We nagging moms can really over talk things! When we say things with fewer words children and spouses are more likely to listen. It helps to do this when there are no distractions, make sure you have your child’s complete attention when you do this.

4. Use one word. I love this! When it is time for me to begin the laundry I simply say to my daughters, “Laundry!” and they casino games online know that means to get their laundry in the hamper, or the consequence is their clothes don’t get washed.

5. Use a signal or leave a note for your child. I find that leaving a note for my girls works better than almost anything else I’ve tried, but of course they are old enough to read! To use a signal let’s say your children’s dirty clothes are lying in a pile on their bedroom floor; when you go to tuck them in, simply point to the pile. They know what you mean, and they will usually take care of the pile right then and there—no nagging, lecturing or telling necessary! (Obviously they need to have experience and know what to do with their dirty clothes, the expectation has to already be set up)

6. Say how you feel: Use I messages that share with your child what you would like to have happen. “I wish the bathroom towels could be hung on the towel rack.”

7. Give information: give your child the information they need to do what you are asking. Make sure they have the skills they need to complete the task.

8. Describe what you see: “I see the towels are on the bathroom floor.” I have found that this takes blame and shame out of the equation. The child knows who left their towel on the floor and the one who did will fix their mistake without you nagging at them!

I hope these tools help you as much as they have me. I’d love to hear how they work for you too, so leave me a comment. Feel free to share this with others who you think might benefit too!

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  1. Heather

    Great ideas Marni!
    These are sanity savers.
    I think it\'s also helpful to avoid questions like \"why do you leave your shoes under the table?\" \"why do you throw the towels on the floor?\"
    I like myself better when i don\'t nag!
  2. Jim

    We all have our naggy moments so these ideas will come in handy for sure. I\'ll let you know if it works well for adults too! I\'m glad Heather added the \"no questions\" alternative as well since it could invite a wisecrack answer: \"The shoe fairy leaves my shoes under the table every time\" or \"The clothes are on the floor because a gorilla ate my homework\".
  3. Lloyd

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