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  • Writer's pictureOnce Upon A Mommy

Ever Feel Like A Broken Record??

Updated: Mar 18


By Cris S.

January 15, 2024


As a parent, we seem to spend half of our lives in repeat mode. You'll ask your kid three times to pick up their shoes out of the middle of the floor, just so they can get you with their favorite phrase: "No, you didn't ask me to do that!"


Honestly, if I didn't have to repeat myself to my kids CONSTANTLY I would probably talk about half as much as I do now!


What can you do when you find yourself rewinding your dialog sixty times a day? Here are a few ideas you can try...


  1. Much of the time when we ask our kids to do something, we are asking them "in passing". We are busy doing several things at once and they are busy playing or running around. Their focus is not on us at all, therefore they are not actually listening to what we tell them. When you ask your kid to do something, make them repeat it back to you. If they are busy playing or running around when you need them to do something, make them stop what they are doing and look at you when they say it back. Eye contact is crucial to making sure someone is actually listening to you. With my son, I have to physically grab hold of him as he is zooming by at 100 mph, come down to his eye level and slowly instruct him on what I want done. Son: "Mom, why are you talking so slow and STARING at me?" Mom: "This is the only way I can get you to LISTEN to me, son. Now repeat back to me what I just asked you to do..."

  2. This tactic works! Well, at least it gets the kids to hear what you are saying. Them actually doing what you told them may be a different story...



2. This one I tried recently and as annoying as it was to everybody, it actually had the desired effect. I told my son to pick up his army guys...


Three times in a row.


"Pick up your army guys, pick up your army guys, pick up your army guys!" He looked at me like I was crazy, and I told him I knew I would have to repeat myself anyway so I might as well get the first three out of the way!


Repeating the direction a few times in a row seems silly, but it works to grab the kids attention. By the third repeat, they actually are listening to you and then can't possibly use the "I didn't hear you" excuse.


Pretty soon, your kids will stop you after the first time and say "Ugh.. Mom! You only have to say it one time!"



3. Follow through on consequences. If you tell your kid that they need to clean their room or they don't get to watch TV the rest of the day, you need to follow through if they end up not listening to you.


If you don't, the child learns that your threats of consequences are empty ones, and there is no need for them to start really listening to you.


Keep in mind that you need to make those consequences realistic. My husband will sometimes throw around the punishment of "No TV for the rest of week!" Both of us adults and the kids know this not a valid threat: We are WAY too busy of a family to constantly be monitoring the TV for a whole week and would eventually just forget about it.


But no TV or video games for the whole weekend is definitely doable, as is no dessert and an early bedtime for that night.



4. Set a time limit if you can. This works well when you are asking your kid to clean their room or do other chores. "I'm only going to tell you this one time. You need to clean your room. You have until 4 o'clock to get it done. That is 2 hours which is more than enough time. If it's not done by then, the consequence will be (fill in the blank)".


You can set a timer for them, or give them a reminder every 15 minutes or so of how much time they have left.


Always remember to have realistic expectations of your child's capabilities. If you are having a five-year-old clean their room, realize that a "clean room" to them is not seeing anything laying in the middle of the floor. (It doesn't matter if there's stuff falling out of the closet or piled on top of the dresser).



5. Don't tell your kid numerous things at once and expect them to remember it all. Younger kids will typically only be able to remember one thing at a time.


Make a list for older kids if you have several things you need them to do, and make those lists crystal clear. If it's written down in detail, there is no room for argument and no excuses can be given.


I got into this practice when I started working night shifts. I would leave a specific list for each kid of things they needed to get done for that day, and they weren't allowed to use any electronics or go outside to play until they were completed. Do not underestimate the power of a list!




You can use these techniques individually or use them together in conjunction. Tweak it around until you find what works best for your family.


Hopefully these practices will make it so that you don't need to constantly be pushing the "rewind" button on your own voice.


If you're lucky, your kids will find some of these practices so annoying that they may just start listening to you the first time you ask! Wouldn't that be something??


Happy Parenting!

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