What this tip really means is be positive with children when you give instructions. Being firm doesn’t mean yelling or being mean. Being positive and motivational will always get more smiles and happy families than forcing and nagging. The old saying is still true: you get more flies with honey than with vinegar. Make sure you guide your Au Pair toward positive, motivational and silly support than pushy, bossy and hollering demands.
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Tip #7: Motivate.
Yelling orders may produce results (in some children), but no one will enjoy the process. Most children respond best when you treat them with confident good humor. For example, occasionally use a silly voice or a song to deliver your message. You might sing “Now it’s time to brush your teeth” to the tune of “London Bridge,” for example. Stress the benefits of complying over mere dutifulness (“Brush your teeth and then you can pick out your favorite nightgown” instead of “You have to brush your teeth or you’ll get cavities” or “Brush your teeth NOW!”). Praise her when she finishes brushing, with “Good listening!”
The good humor, affection, and trust you demonstrate to your child when speaking to her this way will make her want to listen to you, because she’ll know that you love her and think she’s special. This is an important aspect of even those strategies that require firmness. Giving straightforward, authoritative instructions does not mean you have to be crabby — such messages are much more powerful when accompanied by a hug or a smile. Then your child learns that paying attention to you is worthwhile.