Tell me what to do and I’ll do it

I bet there are a lot of things you don’t want your children to do.  Did you know telling and showing them what to do instead of what not to do ALWAYS works better? As parents and teachers we need to model the behaviors we want to see in children. Don’t want your child standing on a chair? Don’t stand on chairs yourself. Don’t want your child to scream? Quietly say “You’re hurting my ears. Inside voices please.” Like what your child is doing? Acknowledge and describe what you like. Here are more examples.

Author's imageJenni RiceDirector & Owner
Don’t Say: Say or Model This: Acknowledge & Describe
Stop Yelling!
  • Inside voices please.
  • Let’s pretend we are in a library. We have to whisper. Everyone is reading and thinking.
Thank you for using your soft inside voice.
No climbing!
  • Feet on the ground.
  • Are you trying to get something up high? Let’s think of a safe way to get that.
Thank you for listening to my words & playing safely with your feet on the ground.
Don’t Throw your TOYS!
  • Toys stay on the ground please.
  • Please keep the toys on the table.
  • We can throw your ball if you want, but not your blocks.
Thank you for playing so nicely with your toys on the carpet.
Stop playing with your food!
  • We eat our food.
  • Food is for eating.
  • If you are done, say “all done.”
Look how nicely you can sit & eat your food!  Thank you.
Look WHAT YOU DID! You ruined the wall!
  • We color on paper, not on walls. Let’s clean it off.
  • Let’s go outside and water paint.
Thank you for using the paper & making me a beautiful picture I can hang up!
Don’t play in the sink.
  • We wash our hands in the sink and play in the backyard.
  • Let’s go play in the pool!
I had so much fun playing outside in the sprinklers with you!
Stop standing on the chair!
  • Chairs are for our bottoms not our feet.
  • Stand next to me on the floor where our feet belong.
Thank you for sitting so nicely in the chair.
Stop your whining!
  • I can’t understand you. Please use your regular voice.
  • That’s too loud. Your hurting my ears.
  • Inside voice.
  • Model & distract by whispering back.
Thank you for using nice words to tell me what you want.

It is so much easier to help you when I can understand you. Thank you for using your inside voice.

Hands off! Don’t Touch!
  • Look with your eyes. Take a picture in your mind.
  • Fold your hands.
  • Keep your hands down.
  • Hands in pockets, please.
  • Model “I’m looking with my eyes and keeping my hands to myself.”
I’m glading your looking with your eyes and  not your hands.

I appreciate the way you kept your hands to yourself in there.

No running!
  • If you want to run let’s go outside.
  • Let’s see if you can walk as slow as me.
  • Who can walk the slowest?
  • Stay with me. Hold my hand.
I like it when you walk inside instead of running.

It’s nice when we hold hands.

When we model what we want and tell children what we want, we’ll get the results we want. When we acknowledge and describe what children are doing right and minimize telling children what they are doing wrong, they get the positive attention they want and will repeat the desired behaviors.

Author's imageJenni RiceDirector & Owner
About the Author

Jenni Rice - Owner & Director

I hope you like this post. I love helping parents, teachers and children learn, grow and become better people! Everyday I'm delighted to spend my day in the place I love with the people I love. If you don't know me already, please read my Teacher Feature. | G+