How to Keep from Yelling at Children

On Monday we started discussing when nannies yell at children. To continue the discussion Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., the international peacemaker and founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication in Cleveland, Ohio, has created a simple model to follow for effectively communicating with compassion.

Listen: Listening with compassion and empathy strengthens your connection with children and minimizes the likelihood of creating a defensive reaction.

Use I Messages: Using “I” messages creates an atmosphere of understanding and mutual respect.

Use Compliments: Communication tips for positive self-esteem include saying, “Good job” and “I knew you could do it.”

Be Empathetic: Ask, “What’s wrong?” Let children know their feelings are important.Work out problems together.

No One is Perfect: Pick children up when they are down by reminding them that one mistake doesn’t mean they’re not smart or capable. Make time to help them learn so that they can succeed the next time.

Be Honest: When children ask you a question answer it right away. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Look up the answers together.

Be Patient: The key to effective communication with children is patience and understanding. In a typical day, you are challenged by many different situations that require on the spot responses.

By becoming familiar with personality types, active listening skills, and constructive communication, your esteem will improve to the benefit of the children.

Learning to pause and to take a deep breath before responding, can help you implement the best possible action for any given event. If mistakes are made, review them in a non-judgmental way. Think of how the situation might have been handled more effectively.

It can be helpful to visualize familiar scenarios to see yourself reacting in a manner that would promote the most positive outcomes.

You can apologize anytime you react in a less than a desirable manner. Doing so teaches children how to be honest, how to apologize, and that everyone makes mistakes.

Do you have any advice to share with other caregivers to help them communicate effectively with children instead of yelling?


  1. Great advice newsletter staff, as always!Belinda, TX

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