If I was only allowed to share one parenting tip, it would have to be about tone of voice. Tone of voice you say? What kind of tip is that? When I suggested recently to a parent of an almost 2-year-old that the tone of voice you use when speaking to a child is so important, she replied “I have a tone of voice that I use and he still doesn’t listen to me”. We laughed and I explained that we were probably talking about different tones of voice.
This is such a common situation. A parent wants a child to stop doing something, pick up her toys or come to eat lunch and so uses a tone of voice that sounds more like an order than a matter-of-fact exchange. The child ignores her, runs away from her, shouts NO and leaves the parent feeling very frustrated. Thinking about what tone of voice would encourage you to respond positively to another person is helpful. Would you feel like cooperating with a person who yelled in a demanding voice for you to do something? Would you use that kind of voice when speaking to a friend or coworker? That’s the best test, I think, when we are trying to guage the voice we are using with our children.
When trying to get anyone to cooperate with you, let alone a two-year-old, try to keep your voice positive and respectful. If you need your child to come to you to listen, it’s best to get up and go to her, look her in the eyes and state what you want her to do in a firm, friendly voice. Then assist her gently if need be.
The tone of voice we use in speaking to our children will be the tone we hear when they are speaking to us.