Connect before you correct (or demand)

Preschooler Example:

Your preschooler is building a sandcastle at the park and it's time for lunch. Before asking him to leave, give a warning, then make a connection. "It's time to go home and eat in 3 minutes. Tell me about what you're building." After 3 minutes pass... "It's been 3 minutes. What's it time to do?"

Grade-schooler Example:

Your school-aged child is watching a show while her mess lingers in the kitchen. Before asking her to clean up, make a connection. "That looks yummy. It's so helpful that you fend for yourself for snacks." After a minute or so of conversation... "A few dishes still need to be put away. Do you want to pause the show or get to them at the commercial?"

Teenager Example:

Your teenager is playing his guitar so loud, you worry about the damage to his ears (and yours!) Before telling him to turn down the volume, make a connection. "What is the song you were playing earlier? Could you play it for me?" After taking a genuine interest... "Repeated exposure to high volumes causes permanent damage to eardrums. How can you prevent this?"


Connecting before correcting (or demanding) puts you and your child on the same side, increasing connection and cooperation.