Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Lynda Loveland: Do it the first time!

Posted May 19, 2010

Lynda Loveland

I get soooo tired of repeating myself, “Carys, go wash your hands.” “Carys, GO wash your hands.” “Carys, YOU BETTER GO WASH YOUR HANDS BY THE TIME I COUNT TO THREE OR YOU’RE GETTING A TIME OUT!”

Do you have any idea how much time is wasted repeating instructions to kids? I can tell you it’s a lot more time than I need to waste and time I’m never gonna get back! I don’t know how it all starts but it sorta just sucks you in without realizing it. I don’t even know how long it’s been going on.

It’s stopping now, though. I’ve had enough. My husband and I instituted a “no parroting” policy. We tell the kids to do something once, if we have to ask again, it’s a time out.

Sounds impressive doesn’t it. Most of the time, we adhere to it. I know, I know. Everything looks so much better in black and white but when you try to follow it, it gets difficult and sometimes life gets in the way. It really drives me bonkers having to repeat myself, so I’m trying VERY hard.

I’m only human…but dang I wish they’d do it the first time!

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning Show. Find her here every Thursday.


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  • Gottalovemy4dogs May 20, 2010

    Or you can try making them ask you multiple times for things. Example, Mom, can you fix me lunch? Ignore them. Mmmmoooommm! Can you please fix me lunch? Still ignore them. They will get very frustrated and when they do and have their meltdown, you explain (assuming they are old enough to understand) that you feel the very same way every time you have to ask them over and over. This works better with older kids Ask them how it feels knowing they make you feel that upset on the inside when they ignore your directions. This makes it less about you directing and them having to follow and puts it on them to be more understanding and compassionate and making an active choice to please their Mama!

  • 2kidz1hub May 20, 2010

    My daughter hears my husband the FIRST time. I find myself repeating 2, 3 and 4 times. That's my frustration. I agree it's selective hearing--in my house it also depends on who's asking!!

  • kennedymarcelle May 20, 2010

    I have found that when it comes to enforcing rules with young children that consistency is the key!

  • luvtoshag May 20, 2010

    It is called selective hearing. They select what to hear and then do it when they know it is do or die. Not really die but you know what I mean. In this case do or time out. Do or get something taken away like an ipod or ds or riding your bike or whatever it is that your children like to do.

    Good luck with your plan. If the children know you mean business and after a few times of time out, they may do it the first time.

  • USA May 20, 2010

    I'm sure your parents wished you had done things the first time when they asked too. I think it's been this way since the beginning of time and will probably be until the end. As a parent, I too wish my children would listen the first time I say something, but, like you, I can't imagine what my life would be without them. So we tend to learn to overlook their indiscretions and thank God for his gift of "Little Folks".

  • kittiboo May 19, 2010

    As a teacher, I HEAR you, Lynda! My first rule in my classroom, posted on the wall, is "Follow directions the first time given". If I had a penny for each time I repeat directions through the day (usually after saying "I already gave those directions, you should have been listening!")... well, I could certainly retire early! And you're right, it is VERY hard to enforce the "no repeats" rule.

  • lilypony May 19, 2010

    We do not count in our house. We ask once. Then if it's not done in a few seconds, we say "wash your hands or else I will help you wash your hands" and without fail it gets done immediately. I will sometimes have to take a step as if I were going to help, and then they scurry away to do it. There is nothing worse in a toddler or young kid's world than the loss of independence.

    We rarely use time outs because it works when they're misbehaving. I tell them to put their feet on the floor (ie don't stand on the table) and if they don't get down, I say "Put your feet on the floor or I will help you put your feet on the floor".

    It works great for the 1-5 year old bunch. I'm pretty sure I'd get laughed at beyond that age!