Some of these ideas are sprinkled around in other posts, but for simplicity, I wanted everything listed in one place. I decided to combine all of the parenting tips that I've learned from books or borrowed from other mommies that work really well in our house. All for your reading pleasure. Wasn't that nice of me???
* "Coming..." - When I call someone's name and they're somewhere else in the house or have wandered down the aisle at the grocery store, I've gotten them in the habit of saying, "Coming, Mom." Same concept as "Yes Mommy" - it commits them to come when they're called.
* Explain the rules beforehand - This might seem excessive, but I explain the rules en route to almost everywhere we go. Especially play dates and public places. I've come to learn that nothing can be assumed with my kids. And what's bizarre is if I tell Kaylin not to take out her rubber bands and hairbow at the gym (they've warned me that smaller kids can find them on the ground and choke on them) she won't do it. 100% of the time, I pick her up and her hair is in tact. But the one time I don't remind her, she pulls out the ensemble and I get scolded. At the summer kiddie movies, every week, we go through the routine of "no talking, just whisper if you have something to say...stay in your seat...once the popcorn is gone, it's gone, I'm not buying any more...we will go potty before the show starts, otherwise, try to hold it..." This really works out well and everyone knows what's expected of them beforehand.
* Taking turns - I read somewhere that until 3 or 4 years old, kids don't get the concept of sharing. So I've tried to use the term, "Remember to take turns" instead of "You need to share." Pre-schoolers seem to understand that better. Then a few weeks ago, my friend Lee taught me the greatest phrase EVER, which I've had my kids repeat again and again. This has saved us from countless battles and kept things from escalating into a war zone. "When you're done, may I have a turn?" Even if child #2 answers "no" to be snotty, I always remind child #1 that the answer has to be "yes" because child #2 isn't going to play with the object for the rest of time. Period.