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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Preschool Pointers - 22: Stop Yelling, A How-To


You're (by which I mean I'm) a yeller. You've somehow conditioned your children not to hear you unless you turn the volume on eight. This is no good. They don't like being yelled at and you don't like yelling, but they just don't respond any other way. How can you retrain them? (and yourself?)


Give warnings. Instead of just repeating yourself ad nauseum until you're so frustrated you yell your child's name, be conscious of what is going on. Is your child blatantly ignoring you? Does she just not hear you? Is she simply involved in a game of make-believe or concentrating on some other task? Are you interrupting her thought processes to speak to her?

All of these might be valid reasons as to why your child doesn't respond. Try not to repeat yourself at all. Give her two chances. Say her name. Say it a bit louder. Nothing? Okay. Go over and touch her, get her attention. Then try again to say what you need to say. If she is still too distracted/ornery/whatever, try giving her a calm warning. This can be anything. I don't recommend mine because it plays into the same problem, but, for me at least, it's leagues ahead of where I was, so I'll use it as an example.

"I'm going to say this once more, and then I'm going to yell at you."

I seriously say that. Just like that. Calmly. Showing her that in this new world, I'm not yelling ever in frustration, but only to get her wayward attention.

This also gives me control of myself and reminds me of the same thing.

My kids don't like it when I yell at them (duh), and so surprisingly (to me) this has been working. They hear the future result, and adhere to my previous words.

When they don't, I do yell at them (gotta follow up consistently, right?) But it's never an extended, just let it all out, I'm totally exasperated type yell. Usually I just say their names sharply and loudly. That's it. That's all they need. They might cry (that fake four-year-old crying for a minute), but when they see I'm not actually going to yell at them for 10 minutes, they straighten out and do what I asked the first time.



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