Obedience is an important skill to teach kids. We want our kids to learn to obey with a positive attitude. Teaching kids to obey with the “Yes, Mommy” Game is a fun way to help kids get into the habit of learning to obey. This game is geared toward younger kids, and my experience is that it translates nicely into real life. If you have an issue with the word “obey,” I’d really encourage you to read my post, “Is Obey the New Four Letter Word?”
I was having problems with my kids listening to me. They would completely ignore me or just not obey. They’d get a consequence for not obeying right away, but it didn’t seem to be working. I asked for some advice, and this was the tip, “Teach them to say ‘Yes, Mommy’ in a fun way.” The concept is that by saying, “Yes, Mommy,” it acknowledges that they heard me and that they are willing to obey. It leaves no room for the question as to whether they really understand or heard the instructions. It shows respect.
However, just demanding that a child respond with “Yes, Mom” (or fill in the blank for any caretaker or authority figure) probably won’t be met with a lot of enthusiasm. Therefore, I decided to make up a game for practice. After all, it is always best to practice obedience when you are not “in the moment.”
Kids respond to games. It is how they learn. The game I made up is simple and effective. We went outside (can be done indoors too), and I had them run around. When I called out their names, they were to freeze and yell back, “Yes, Mommy?” Then, I would give them a command like, “Sit on the grass!” or “Grab a leaf and bring it to me.” Their next response was suppose to be, “Yes, Mommy.” They would then hustle to do the task as quickly as possible. We played this game for a bit, and they had fun racing each other.
I gave a brief talk when we came inside about saying “Yes, Mommy!” throughout the day as mommy asks them to do something. I would enthusiastically say, “Yes, Mommy!” if they forgot, and they would repeat. It translated immediately, and we literally had a miracle turn around in their response to me. Of course, we taught them to say, “Yes, Daddy” also.
I praise them like crazy whenever those words come out of their mouths. You’ll often hear me saying, “Oh, I love ‘Yes, Mommy.’ Thank you for that!” When there’s not obedience, there’s still a consequence, but we often try and give them one more chance to respond with a cheerful yes mom with this phrase. We’ve played the game a couple times if things went slack, but it was really absorbed amazingly the first time.
As the kids get a bit older, there is room for negotiation. In the younger years, we are in a phase of parenting that really focuses on use teaching them by showing them what we expect. We have taught negotiation skills to older kids who respond with respect. I’d love for you to read more by clicking on the link to my other article.
In short, when the kids respond with, “Yes, Mommy…but…” I try in my best efforts to accommodate. For example, if I say, “You need to come to the kitchen for dinner,” and they respond, “Yes, mommy, but I’m almost done finishing this drawing. May I do that first?”, then I would try my best to be able to say yes. If they just ignore me or say disobey there is no negotiating. Of course, there are times when compromising is not possible. “Sorry, we really need to leave the house right now.” Then, it’s time to obey.