Finding a way to balance discipline with having fun is a great way to create a fun and loving household. Instead of just barking requests (we've all been there!), have some fun with your children. Here are a few ideas to get you started on those long days when you feel like all you do is say "no!!"
Say yes often - Let's face it, a mom who says no all the time is not really a fun mom to be around! Find ways to say "yes" to your children and your children might listen to you more. Create an environment where most of the choices available are ones that are acceptable.
For instance, the other day, Sienna and I were outside playing in the back yard. She kept running toward the sidewalk and steps (where it was not safe). I chased her, saying "no" firmly and brought her back. This went on about 3 or 4 times until I realized I needed to change things up. I gave her options by bringing out a few other toys (since she seemed to be bored) and then set boundaries by positioning myself so that she could not get to the area that she was not allowed to go. I began giving positive reinforcement for the way she was playing with the new toys and she quickly forgot about the steps. Although this does not work EVERY time, distraction can be a great tool for keeping a child happy.
If you have an older child, you can apply the same principle to an older child's requests. For instance, if you don't want your child to wear a certain piece of clothing to church and he continues to ask, give him options. Tell him that he can wear it to the park, around the house, or to a friends house but not to church. You could even give him other clothing options to help him along. Suggest a flowery dress of yours if they can't find anything!
Then set boundaries if they continue to ask. Clearly explain why they can't wear the item and end the discussion by explaining that the item will be taken away if they continue to ask. NOTE: Only pick this battle if the item is absolutely not acceptable, not just because you don't like the color.
Be silly. Of course this works especially well with younger children but it can also work with older children too! If your child keeps forgetting to do something, tell him that you will get out of the car (when you drop them off to school) and do a funny dance (the worm, running man, or cabbage patch are good options) in front of his friends.
Another idea? If they keep leaving their dirty socks in the hallway, tell them that you will write a big sign and put it in the car window that says, "Dan Smith has smelly feet".
Little children love it when you tell them that you are going to "squish them into a pancake" if they don't do something. They will most likely NOT do the task to get the "punishment" (you sitting on them) but then will finally get the job done (after all the giggling!)
Sing Songs My mother used to sing an old church song very loudly until we got out of bed on slow mornings. Hearing her sing "Rise and shine and give God your glory glory!" over and over again definitely got us moving! We didn't exactly show our appreciation...but we secretly liked 'how awful' the experience was!
Everyone likes karaoke! If your children's friends think you are fun, your children will think your fun too (even if it's embarrassing!) Sing a Justin Beiber song or an 80's song off key and your child might be pleasantly mortified! Sing loud and proud mama!
Most importantly, have fun with your kids. This is your chance to be a kid again and loose all the rules of proper ettiquette that we have as adults. Chances are, if you have fun, your children will too!