The Positive Discipline Tool we are working on is One Word. This one is simple; instead of using lecturing and nagging, use a one word reminder.
To be honest, this reminder couldn't have come at a better time for me. Recently I have found myself going on and on with my children. While this is not effective with a six year old, you can only imagine how well it works on an 18 month old.
Here are a couple examples of one word working out much better then many.
My six year old comes home from school each day, has a snack, then does some homework, or self directed writing/coloring at the dining room table. I cook dinner at the same time. Once she is finished, she needs to clear her snack items away, and put her homework and writing/coloring materials away. If she does not put her things away, then we are not able to set the table and have dinner. We have discussed this at length and she understands what needs to be done. I have also taken time for training, so she knows how to clean up after her snack and put her things away properly. For the last week month, I have been having to remind her over and over again, as I find her off playing while the table is still a mess and it is time to set it for dinner. I found myself going on and on with lengthy explanations, something like this, "If you leave things out on the table there is a chance that dinner could spill on your work and then it would be ruined, and if you don't get everything put away, then we have to spend time putting it away when dinner is already ready and our food will get cold and we will end up eating dinner later, and that will cut into your special time with daddy..." It is exhausting just typing all these words! Imagine hearing it over and over. I would tune me out for sure. This week I decided to try one word. On Monday when she walked away from the messy table, I said "table"! She "hmphhhed" and cleaned it up! Tuesday went about the same and the rest of the eek she either cleaned up without a reminder or did so pleasantly when reminded!
My 18 month old loves to climb. Now that he has mastered climbing up onto the couch, he enjoys standing up, jumping, and running on the couch. This does not work for me, because if he were to fall off he would most likely hit the edge of a table and get very hurt, and because couches are for sitting. We try to avoid using negative language with him. Instead of constantly saying things like, "no", "don't", "stop", etc, we try to tell him what we would like him to do. When he climbs onto the couch and stands up, we say, "please sit down", "put your feet on the floor", or "the couch is for sitting". Let me just tell you, once you have said one or two of these phrases 17 times in the matter of a few minutes, you get sick of hearing yourself speak. While we often have to distract and redirect, our toddler at this age, I thought I would give One Word a try with him too. On a few occasions, as soon as he stood up on the couch, I said "sit"! To my surprise it did work a few times. If I followed that up with a distraction, such as a book to look at on the couch, he often stayed sitting for a bit.
Of course no tool works all the time, but if you find your self really harping on one specific thing frequently, and you know that your child understands what is expected and is capable of doing it, try One Word. You just might be surprised with its simplicity and effectiveness! It is easier for you and more respectful to your child then lecturing.