So today we’re going to be talking about communication. Such a big topic! And so important to work on because it affects everything — how your kids behave, your relationship with your partner, your friendships, and, very importantly, whether or not you get your needs met as a busy mum!
For so many of us, when we become mums we are so busy looking after our littles that we totally forget, or undervalue, expressing our own needs and caring for ourselves. I know I did! We put our kids first, saying “I’ll be fine. I want to be a good mummy,” and then — surprise surprise — get so exhausted that we end up having a big outburst, screaming and yelling at the kids or our partner and feeling terrible.
Rather than sacrificing your sanity, a part of being a good mummy or daddy means teaching your child how to communicate their needs. How do we do that? Model it our selves. When we communicate calmly, guess what! They will learn how to as well! (Believe me, if you work on calm, good communication when they are little it will pay off massively when you have a house full of teenagers.)
Okay — so there’s a really simple place to start. They are sometimes called “I messages” or “Non-violent communication.” Basically, it’s just an easy-to-try sentence that you can use to communicate your needs calmly and teach to your children. It can feel a bit weird to start with so just hang in there with me, it does get more natural over time.
How it goes:
Start with getting their attention calmly. Sit down somewhere or squat to their height if it’s your child. (Even 3 year olds can understand this if you keep it simple).
Start with what you observed and want to talk about “When I see…” or “When I hear…”
Then name your feelings. (Some people find this really hard — especially children. Naming feelings is a skill that you can learn too. We’ll talk about that another day.)
“I feel… sad/ upset/ hurt/ angry/ frustrated/ annoyed.”
Then say why you feel that way. “Because I need… quiet when I am settling the baby.”
“Because I value… people being kind to each other.”
And last of all ask for what you want without demanding it. “Would you be willing to…put some headphones on please?”
“I’d really like it if you….share your lego with your sister.”
It doesn’t mean you’ll always get what you want. They might say no, but it’s so much better than never asking for what you need and feeling resentful, or yelling and screaming. Give it a go!
Non-violent communication has two parts: listening with empathy and expressing yourself honestly. You can take a look at Dr. Rosenberg’s model here if you want to find out more.
I’ve created a free PDF for you! You can print it off and stick it on your fridge as a super simple reminder.
See you soon!
7 thoughts on “Using non-violent communication with your kids: How to get the behaviour you want without yelling.”
I’d love some ways to deal with come internet addicted 10 year old. I know parent say just turn the internet off but I also look after 5 preschoolers an 10 year old tantrums are not so appealing in front of these littlies..please help I get tounge tied an end up saying the wrong thing or not following through x
Hi Amanda, we do have the extra pressure on our parenting now with all the screens and internet! It’s not easy. I’ll try to cover some ideas in a blog post for you. I’m sure there are lots of parents struggling with the same issue. I frequently have to do internet free time (and days) with my own kids or they would choose to spend all day on a device! One thing I find helpful is giving them reasons as to why screen free time is good for them and letting them know when they can go back on. For example, I’ll say “we can have the internet on after 5 but right now I’d like you to do something outside because it’s not good for our bodies to sit still all day.” Keep an eye out for my post, I’ll try to include lots of ideas and resources and hopefully one will work for you!