If You Want to Stop Yelling, Sing a Song

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If You Want to Stop Yelling, Sing a Song*Fade into Infomercial*

Do you find yourself raising your voice when you’d rather not?

Do you identify with the wah-wah-wah teacher from Charlie Brown more than the other characters?

Are you invisible, without donning a cloak of invisibility?

Do you have kids that ignore you, that seemingly can’t hear your request when it’s presented in a kind and calm fashion?

You say, “Please clean your room.”

Or, “It’s time for PJs!”

Only to be met with silence and noncompliance?

Do I have a trick for you!

Stop yelling. Get a fun beat in your head, and sing.

That’s right. Sing.

Belt out your requests like you’re Idina Menzel on Broadway. Sing about cleaning the toys up like you’re on The Voice. Try today, and see what happens!

*fade to black*

Yes, this all sounds crazy and too good to be true, just like every infomercial on late night TV. But so far it’s been revolutionary at my house.

Nine months into the pandemic found me frazzled, exhausted, spread thin, and worn out. I was so tired of yelling. So tired. But it seemed no matter how Mary-Poppins-nice I asked, they just couldn’t seem to hear me.

Then I had an epiphany. As a teacher, I didn’t yell at my class, yet they listened. My kids love school, and listen well there. So what if…what if I pretend I’m their teacher? What if I act like the sit-com-iest preschool teacher in the world? What would that look like?

That’s how I found my voice and it didn’t have to sound like a monster.

I tried it around bedtime first. To the tune of ‘If you’re happy and you know it,’ I sang:

If you want to hear a story, put on your PJs,

If you want to hear a story, put on your PJs,

It’s getting pretty late,

You don’t want to tempt fate,

If you want to hear a story put on your PJs.

Y’all, they came running.

Like puppies to a squeaky toy, they scampered down the hall and listened to my song with rapture. As if by magic, they then went into their room and put on their pajamas. Just like that.

I’ve adapted it for many things. Current hits include “If you want to have screen time pick up/if you want to play that game clean up/if you want to change your lane/you first have to stay sane/so if you want to play that game clean up.”

And. It. Works.

Like any good parenting trick, it has to be used in moderation. You can’t sing non-stop or the novelty will wear off. But when you need them to wash their hands, clean up, get ready for bed…all you have to do is sing, and in your song, remind them what they have to do and why they want to do it. When applied a few times a day, it seems to keep its luster and retain its magic.

If you and your kids are *extra* like us, you can also adapt it to other songs. Since our house is still deep in Hamilton mania, here’s another rendition on our popular list:

To the tune of Dear Theodosia:

Dear my children,

What to say to you

You’ve strewn all of your stuff

Across our dang house.

And now I’ve lost three toes,

To your Legos.

Please my children

Pick up your stuff.

It’s not a hard chore

Don’t be such a bore

Pick up

Your stuff.

This technique likely sounds terribly silly, and I often feel silly. But it works. I hate yelling, and if I can choose silliness over yelling, I will every time.

So:

If you want to stop yelling,

Sing a song

If you want to stop yelling,

Sing a song

It’s like a magic cure;

You won’t have to yell anymore!

If you want to stop yelling,

Sing a song.

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Christine Derr
Hey, y'all! I'm an adventurous mama who has lived all over. I've lived in Florida (Go Noles!) and Alaska (yay snow!) and many places in between. My little family settled in Knoxville back in 2014, and we've been growing our roots here since. We love the wonderful family friendly activities Knoxville and the surrounding areas have to offer, and explore every chance we get. I'm obsessed with all things Disney, and you can often find me fan-girling about my obsession on my blog, Paw Prints in the Sink (www.pawprintsinthesink.blogspot.com). I'm a sleep-deprived mom to two boys, ages 18 months and almost 4 years. They keep me on my toes, and jump into hugging mode moments before I lose my mind from enduring their constant chaos. I'm a bibliophile, baking addict, pun-loving goofball. I can't wait to get to know you!

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