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In this video: Learn why and how to only say things once, as well as Step 2 of the Choice Chart, which is Redirecting Your Child.

Click here to get PDFs of The Rules, Choice Charts for 1 – 4 children, as well as language you can use to explain the rules and introduce the Choice Chart to your children.

Click here for Word versions of Choice Charts for 1 – 4 children which can be used to customize the chart for your children.

Hi, my name is Cara Day. Welcome to Daychild. Today I’m going to be talking with you about how to verbally redirect your child, as well as how and why to only say things once.

In the first video we reviewed the five basic steps of the choice chart:

Step 1 Identify the Behavior type
Step 2 Give Verbal Redirection
Step 3 Isolate
Step 4 Mark Penalty
Step 5 Reward with Pay Day Dinner

We learned the 3 Rules that cover any type of behavior your child can display:

1. We cooperate.
2. We speak kindly.
We keep our hands, feet and other objects to ourselves.

And now that you’ve identified the behavior as a stop start or never behavior, you’re ready for the next step which is to give your child a redirection.

When you redirect your child, you’re going to tell your child what you want them to either start doing or stop doing. You’re going to say it in a simple phrase, in one sentence, and you’re only going to say it once. I’m going to tell you exactly how this sounds, but first it’s super important that I mention something that is critical to this step. In fact, it’s the key to the entire choice chart system, to peace and happiness as a parent, and to raising respectful children who both show and honor boundaries in their relationships.

If you take only one thing away from the Choice Chart, take this: We teach people how to treat us. This true in our adult life, and this is true when we are parenting our children. If you teach your children that your children that you will say something more than once, they will take you up on that offer, every day.

And there you will be repeating yourself, over and over again. And you’ll end up have a very different parenting experience than you would have had otherwise, whether you have only one child, or you have a bunch of kids.

I have four kids, all spaced about 20 – 22 months apart. They are normal kids who have done every normal kid thing you can imagine. They’re not angels, they’re not perfect, they have tested me and humbled me to the fullest, every step of the way, for the past 20 years.

By teaching your children that you’re only going to say things once, you preserve a lot of your parental energy for other things. If you discipline your children with ineffective methods, you’re going to be exhausted as a parent. You’re going to be exhausted in your marriage or partnership, too.

You’re going to have a lot less fun as a parent and you’re not going to have the parenting experience you could have had just by teaching your children that you’re only going to say things once. Once you have this firmly established, your hardest work is done.

The Choice Chart provides you with a system of what to do when they don’t do what you say the first time you say it. Kids aren’t going to do everything on the first time, no matter how consistent you are–they’re kids! They’re supposed to be annoying and they’re supposed to test you! That’s why they are here–to learn and grow through experimentation. You are their experiment!

With the Choice Chart, when they don’t do something the first time, you have something you can do that is consistent and it creates a lot of fairness for children. Children love the Choice Chart because they see that it is more fair than disciplining without it, or with a less effective method.

My grandfather, who passed a few years ago at age 95, had six grandchildren, and my 4 kids were his great grandchildren. One day he commented to me that my children do what I ask them to do the first time that I ask them to do it. He said that they listen to you, they do what you tell them to do, and you do it so quietly, and there’s so many of them!

It was interesting to me that he made a commentary on this because, well, 1, he didn’t always notice things or comment on the things he did notice, and 2, because I took it as a compliment, because even though he said it in usual, old, stoic Russian way, it meant a lot.

The sheer number of children I had caused me to come up with something that would work, would work well, would work no matter where we were, or what we were doing, and would work no matter who was with my children, whether other relatives, or their dad, so we all could be consistent with them.

When you have four children, you are either calm, organized, and effective, or you basically have a first class ticket to the loony bin.

Ok, that was a really long tangent. But it was an important one. Now, back to the steps.

Step 2: Give a verbal redirection.

After you have mentally noted whether this is a stop, start, or never behavior, it is time to give the verbal redirection. Give the redirection in a firm, loving voice that is kind, but makes it clear that you mean business. Kinda like that!

Do not add a tag question to your verbal redirection, such as, “ok?” will you? alright? yes? is that ok? Women tend to do this more than men, but both are capable of it. Tag questions weaken communication. Be clear.

This is the one sentence or less phrase that is going to tell your child exactly what you want them to start or stop doing.
It sounds like this: “Please brush your teeth.” Or, “Please get started on your homework.” Or, for stop behaviors, “Please stop making that noise.” Or, “Please stop annoying your brother.”

Only say it once. If they don’t do it, or move to do it, or acknowledge you in some way, giving you some indication that it’s going to happen or it’s happening, or if it’s a stop behavior, if they don’t stop right away, then you go on to the next step, which is to say, “You have a penalty.”

That’s all you say. You don’t say anything else. You don’t say, “You have a penalty, I told you to stop doing that. I can’t believe you still did that, even after I told you to stop. You know you’re not allowed to do this. You got in trouble for this yesterday. I can’t believe we’re having this conversation again,” and so on.

And, we know, as parents, how easy it is to get caught up into that cycle of “I’m right, you should be listening to me,” going through ancient history and all of these types of things. So, you save ALL of that energy, too. You just say, “You have a penalty.” It’s four words, that’s all they get from you. Remember, you are saving your energy for the FUN stuff you want to do with them. Don’t give life to this nonsense. Don’t give life to anything you don’t want to see again.

Never behaviors

Ok, so what about the never behaviors. Well, for that, it’s a little bit different, because there is no redirection. Your child gets an immediate penalty.

It sounds like this:

We do not swear. You have a penalty.
We do not hit. You have a penalty.
We do not say “stupid.” You have a penalty.

For never behaviors, there is no verbal redirection. There is an immediate penalty because your child already knows that this behavior is ALWAYS unacceptable.
If your child does not comply with the start or stop redirection, which you have only said once, they get a penalty. Don’t repeat yourself or say the warning again! Just say, “You have a penalty,” and go to the next step.

The Choice Chart only works if you SHOW your children you mean what you say, every time you speak, especially when you are just starting out with this.

Because you will have explained the Choice Chart system to your children before you start using it, which I will explain exactly how to do, later in the video series, they will already know what it means when you say, “You have a penalty.” And at that point in time, the next step begins.