Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Get her to pick between two phrases.

What you can do

Help your child understand nuances by presenting different ways to phrase something. Give her a polite option, such as “Please may I go to the party?” Have her compare it to an impolite version, such as “You better let me go to the party.” Ask her which she thinks sounds better.

Use exaggerated wording to help your child see the differences between them. Try to use humor to make the exercise seem more like fun than work.

What you can say

“Sofia, how you ask for something can really make a difference in whether you end up getting the kind of response you’re hoping for. For example, imagine if Molly said to you, ‘Sofia, you better be at the playground after school or else.’ How would you feel?”

“Yes, that didn’t sound too nice to me either. You’d probably be less interested in meeting up with her because of the way she said that, right?”

“What if she said ‘Sofia, do you want to play with me at the playground after school?’ That sounds a lot better, right? I know you like Molly, but which way would you want her to ask you to play?”

“It’s really important to think about how you say things. Why don’t you make up some sentences now, and quiz me about which sounds better to me.”

Why this will help

Children with learning and attention issues often have trouble seeing how their tone of voice or choice of words comes across to others. Providing concrete examples will give your child the opportunity to experiment with language. Practicing together will help her understand the importance of how she phrases things.

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