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Family & Parenting
November 7, 2016
Mind Your Mouth: Communicating Effectively With Your Child

Shift Team

Black mother and child stand in front of a stone wall, embracing each other and smiling gently.

How To Effectively Use Language To Cooperate With Your Children  

Research shows that the ways that adults provide discipline to their children is crucial to later development. Statements by parents and caregivers have been found, in research, to be related to children's self-talk and self-perceptions. By using positive parenting strategies, children feel supported to explore their ever-expanding world. To create safety, children and adolescents need limits and structure, routine and consistency (sometimes it’s easier said than done!). Through discipline, parents, and caregivers facilitate the development of your child’s executive function skills (Impulse and emotional control, flexible thinking, memory, prioritizing, planning and initiating tasks, organization).

By altering the language, you use, you can gain your child co-operation, avoid negative behaviors and foster positive self-regard.

Parenting Tip #1: Empathize first and then give direction or discipline to your child

Growing up is difficult and your child needs and wants to feel understood. Validating your child's emotions has positive impact on their ability to express their emotions, feel safe in describing how they feel and to allow them to carry this skill throughout their life.

Instead of: “(Childs name), we have to get ready for soccer practice (or other location/event) now or we are going to be late!”

Try: "I know you are having fun at the park (or other location/event), but it's time to get ready to go now."

Parenting Tip #2: Give direction without using the word “No”  

Some studies suggest that toddlers here the word “No” on average, 400 times a day. If you notice that your child gets angry when they hear the word 'no', try saying giving direction in a different way.


Instead of: “No you can’t go to a movie, it’s a school night”

Try: “Yes, you can go to the movie with your friends…. On the weekend”

Instead of: “You have to finish your homework before you go outside”

Try: “Yes, you can go outside, after you finish your homework”


Have questions or want to improve your family dynamics? This is where our Care Team comes in!

This article was written by Annie Amirault during their time at Shift Collab.

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