Updated: Mar 19, 2020
I have a feeling that you're good at encouraging kids and helping your family when they need you, but sometimes feel frustrated when they don't seem to appreciate it.
After 43 years of working with kids and families as well as having my own, I can tell you that while familial matters are usually more complicated than they seem, this one simple phrase can do wonders to increase respect. Both ways.
I still need to re-commit to it every time I feel kids or families aren't respecting me the way I'd like them to. It might only be 3 little words, but they're 3 words that can help teach appreciation and respect from where they begin.
That's because this phrase makes it perfectly clear what I expect everyone I deal with to do to make with me happy with them.
What is it? I'm going to tell you now, but remember, this little phrase is my biggest secret ever for gaining respect from, families and the groups of children I work with every single working day for the past 43 years. Use it wisely.
The 3 little words that do so much are, "That was helpful!"
Yep, that's it!
All you have to do is to notice them when they are helpful and say it out loud. Every wants to be acknowledged. It's also nice when you provide a clear description of what you actually thought was helpful so they'll have no trouble knowing what to do to put a smile on your face.
They're more likely to so anything out of respect for you than they are out of fear.
As you probably already know, fear of consequence can make you sneakier while respect for a person, place or thing, can make you behave your very best. And children learn by example so the best thing you can do for them is to show them respect so they can learn to respect you in return.
Here are some examples that work.
Wow , Missy, you found my pen. That was helpful!
That was helpful, Howie! You put the playdough away. That makes it stay soft and fun to play with next time and easier for me because I don't have to stop cooking to do it myself. Good planning, buddy!
You let me finish talking with Stuart, Rajesh. That was helpful!
Thanks, Penny! When you read with Bernie, she liked it and I was able to take a quick shower.! That was really helpful to me!
That was helpful, Sheldon! You cleaned up the legos as soon as I asked you to and you put your shoes on super fast! Now we can get out of the door quickly and have more time at the park!
So remember to look for things that please or help you and play them up to your best ability, especially if you want those people to respect you. This is extremely helpful when you're talking to people who are active or extremely active.
Luck and Love,
Dear Parents and Providers,
Or read more about my PJ Family Dance Party where you never have to leave home to have a fun family work-out!
Nanci J. Bradley is a child and family educator, author, energy facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, lifelong learning, healthy eating, fun, and more than anything else, PLAY! She studied early childhood education at Triton College and received her BA in education from Northern Illinois University in 1986. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison, WI.