Friday, February 19, 2016

The One Word That Stops Running In Our House Instantly

Do you ever find yourself saying certain things over and over and ok...OVER & OVER again to your kids?!? 

You know, those things that you have told them way too many times to count? 

Ok, so if you have...

Does it ever just drive you completely crazy?!? 

And then you're all like...I need to keep my cool, this shouldn't be a big deal. 

And then it happens again two minutes later and your frustration and now reaction causes more concern than the initial offense?

Been there.

Done that

Sam and I both recently found ourselves getting frustrated telling the kids over and over again to stop running in the house. I would estimate that I was personally telling them not to run no less than five times per day. Granted, it could be a different child each time but most of the time there was overlap.

And the thing that drives you crazy is that the kids know our rule about not running in the house. So it isn't as if we spring it on them each day. But their reaction (or shall we say, lack of change) starts messing with my mind. The debate begins in my head like this...

Well, they are just kids. Maybe I should just let them run in the house.

They have a lot of energy. They have to get it out somewhere.

But then something about picturing all five of my kids running loose in every indoor space that we ever visit, quite honestly sends me into a bit of a panic. And I remember all of the times I have had to comfort screaming children who were running in socks and slipped on the wood floors, or down the steps or ran around the corner and knocked a sibling in the face causing a bloody nose. 

Yep, those have all happened...multiple times. 

Sam and I try to follow through with a consequence. "Go take down a smiley face."

But when you find yourself saying over and over again, 












The simple fact that their actions aren't changing and that you are constantly dealing with the same problem can make you feel like you are just plain wasting your breathe. 

So you start giving looks of death instead. Because you simply can't imagine having to say the same thing one more time. And then about every other time you follow through with the "go take down a smiley face thing" and lecture them for five minutes on why this has to stop.

Simply put, I was on the verge of throwing in the towel on this one. I told Sam one day, "maybe we should just give up on the whole no running in the house thing." 

To which Sam replied, "No, they CAN learn to not run inside."

And in one of his moments of sheer brilliance he said, let's just say, sit.

I grinned from ear to ear. 

And in that moment I felt victory for parents all over the world! :-)

Try it, "sit."

Now when the kids are running, I don't get frustrated, I'm not shocked or surprised by their actions, I simply say, "sit."

Then they sit down exactly where they are when they hear us say that one word.

After a few minutes pass I'll let them know that they can get up now. 

A simple reminder. A simple consequence. A simple word.

That is it...end of our conversation with each other.

It wasn't too long after we started doing this that I was upstairs walking down the hallway headed to the bathroom to take a shower. One of the boys came running up the stairs, rounded the corner and sprinted right in my direction until suddenly seeing my presence made him instantly remember that he shouldn't be running. (Funny how that happens, right?) 

I smiled, said "sit" and then walked into the bathroom. 

He asked how long he had to sit for and I told him that I would let him know when he could get up after I got out of the shower. 

That may have been the longest most enjoyable shower of my life! :-)


  1. I read a research paper once describing how young children respond to simple, direct, and positive instructions. They don't respond nearly as well to subjective or negative instructions such as don't or stop. The authors use the example of running in the house, and said parents will get a much better response with the one-word instruction to "walk," versus saying "don't run." Looks like your experience supports their hypothesis.

  2. Brilliant! I will try this. For a long time I said "Freeze!", but freezing on feet lends itself to creative poses that simply can't be held for any length of time. Sitting is sitting. I love it.

  3. I will be trying this, thank you! I am always looking for better ways then yelling at them to get them to listen, this just might work :)

  4. Oh how I love this. I will definitely be trying this. I know there will be plenty of opportunity. Thank you xoxox

  5. As a parent I'm often amazed at how simply having a PLAN lifts such a weight. Instead of thinking and responding to each offense, simply having a canned response is so...freeing. And it really does truly enable you to simple respond instead of ratcheting up until you eventually feel like screaming.

    I am also amazed at how often we FORGET this strategy. Perhaps it's different with more, but with just one, it's like we completely forget how to deal with discipline issues if we've been having a good run. We'll let more slide and more slide until all of a sudden we realize we're about to explode. Then we'll look at each other and say "what the heck have we been doing? We haven't been consistent and following The Plan". The plan isn't complicated, a time out in the corner...but it does no good if it's not followed.

  6. I love it!!! Running is definitely an issue in our house as well. We make them walk all the way back and then like a do over. NOW, when they come running around the corner and I am standing there I don't say a word either. LOL they just stop in their tracks and walk back and do it over walking.


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