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Talking to Your Kids

Lil Tip: The Word "OK"

"After dinner we are going to play for 15 minutes and then take a bath, OK?" I never realized how often I finished my sentences with the word, "OK" until I had children. I don't know if I feel that I need their approval before we make a plan, or if I am just trying to include them in the decision-making process, but it wasn't until my son actually responded with a "No" that I realized the frequency with which I used the word.

On a particularly clingy morning, I took my son to school and told him I would play with him in the classroom for five minutes and then I had to leave for work. As usual, I ended the sentence with "OK" and my tot looked up at me defiantly and said, "No." I told him that was how it was going to be and that no other parents were there and that I knew he was a big boy, etc. At that point, one of his teachers came over to me to help pry my child from my leg. She told me that she didn't know why, but many parents seem to feel the need to put an "OK" at the end of sentences when talking with kids. She reminded me that I am the parent and I set the rules – it doesn't matter if my child is in agreement with me or not.

Since that incident, I now consciously leave the offending word off the end of my sentences and I've noticed that my lil tyke is more willing to go along with my decisions than ever before. OK?

skigurl skigurl 7 years
so when is yunhu going to get kicked off the network?? anyone?? anyone??
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 7 years
Whups! One more thing... Asking a child to repeat your instructions teaches them to follow directions. This teaches them to prompt themselves for the next step. That is a BIG skill which will impact them all their lives. Ever been around an adult that cannot follow directions? Success in life often evolves around some form of directions. Great post!
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 7 years
Excellent point! People do use "Ok?" too often. I also think that in general people do ask children more questions than they did during my childhood. I came from the "seen and not heard" generation. Asking them for input is good unless you find yourself constantly clearing with them decisions which should never be placed in a child's hands. Should your child determine what everyone else will have for dinner or what movie everyone goes to? I tend to save that little perk for birthdays. The rest of the year the adults make those decisions.
Girl-Jen Girl-Jen 7 years
I learned to avoid that before I had a kid, when I was learning about pediatric patients in EMT school! I like to give requests as choices ("Would you like to take a bath now, or in five minutes? Do you want to brush your teeth in the bathroom or the bedroom?"). I also ask my daughter silly questions to make sure she understands me: "Did I say put all the toys in the toy box, or did I say put all the alligators in the bathtub? Yes! I said put the toys away! So please get started by putting the baby doll and the stethoscope in the toy box."
amandachalynn amandachalynn 7 years
I say the same thing Betty! I make him answer me and repeat like Jen does. He seems to actually follow through if he responds after I say something.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
I always say, 'Do you understand me?' That way I make sure I've gotten through to her without giving her a chance to object. Sometimes I even make her repeat after me, as in, 'I want you to say, ten more minutes of play and then we clean up.' Sometimes she gets mad about it... but it works.
FrankiLee FrankiLee 7 years
You know, I never would have thought of that. I say "OK" at the end of almost every sentence I say to my daughter. I will start being more aware of how often I use it!
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