In all of my years working with families I have heard one message consistently from children. They don’t hear. Their window of interest is short and their window of attention may be shorter.

Parents often feel that more is better as if explaining for 5 minutes will make all the difference.

However the opposite is true. Explain as briefly as possible -perhaps 2 or 3 sentences (fewer, if the child is under 7). Try using 10 words or less as a reminder. And, 5 words or less as the 3rd reminder.

Did you know that:
Words carry the least of our message
tone of voice carrying much of our message and
Facial expression and body language carrying the greatest part of the message.

Examples of the final messages:
For a 2 or 3 year old: finger wagging, eyes stern, voice calm/stern
For a 7 year old: child’s name “Sarah, remember the rule” in a calm stern voice
For a 12+ year old: “Tom, we’ve already discussed this.” with calm voice and body language.