The Parenting Challenge: Gimme 5!!


It can be very easy to slip into a negative pattern of looking at our children’s behavior and to spend our days barking out what needs to happen:


“Please put your shoes away!”

“How many times do I have to ask you to take your plate up to the counter when you are done eating?”

“Get ready now!”

“Brush your teeth!”


and the list goes on.

More critically, sometimes we also approach our children with the “BUT’s” of life:


“Well, you did a pretty good job, but…”

“I was pleased with what happened, but..”

“It was a decent grade, but I know next time…”


Sometimes what we don’t say also sounds criticizing to the child and the messages they “hear” are I’m not athletic, I’m not smart, I’m not like my older brother, I’m not cute like the baby, I never do things right.


If we want to hold onto our children, and if we know that connection is the first and foremost basis of discipline, then take my Gimme 5 challenge!


5 times a day, say these words to your children:

“I like when you……”

“I appreciate when you…”

“You are (smart, funny, caring, loyal, helpful, kind, etc!)

Hug, kiss, pat your child on the back , put your arm around them– 5 times a day!


For tiny children under the age of 6, it is not so much about your words but your overall demeanor and attitude:  they don’t always need the words a child ages 6 and above need, but they do need sunny smiles, warm hugs, singing, and you saying short and positive phrases that confirm just how wonderful they are.


Because they really are!

Try five a day; it can take the most challenging child and the most challenging discipline season and turn it around.


I can’t wait to hear your results!


9 thoughts on “The Parenting Challenge: Gimme 5!!

  1. This is just what I needed to hear! I will start this tomorrow and I think it will be wonderful for my attitude, which has been suffering lately (probably due to my trying to accomplish too much on my own!) Thanks for such a great blog…I always find what I need here.

  2. Carrie,
    I have been looking for the article/reference that states the number of hugs a person needs to get through the day – to survive, to live, and to thrive. Something like 12 to truly thrive. I can count days when the only hug my baby got was nursing! Not being able to wear a string around my finger, I have started wearing a ring to remind me that my babies need hugs not just to survive, but to thrive in this family and this world. I am sad to think that I went through most of my childhood with very few hugs, and sadder to think of other things that we as parents didn’t receive as children – making it hard to model and practice them as adults. Who would have thought a hug is hard to give – when a child is misbehaving – they need them the most. Thanks for all the work you are doing!

  3. Talk about coincidence! I was JUST thinking last night that I’ve really slipped into an extremely negative thought pattern… and needed to shift this. It really, really makes life miserable for everyone, but esp poor little ones who don’t understand. Life with little kids is exhausting to me (and most, I’m sure), and I need to work harder to guard my time and fill it with things that really give me the rest and energy I need. Getting some sleep seems to be a big help to negativity for me! Your blog is always so applicable to what’s going on in my very real and (sometimes) crazy life 🙂

  4. Exactly what I needed tonight! I was JUST telling my husband how much I hate like I feel like I am always saying “Don`t do this, do that, no, etc., etc.“ Sometimes I feel like I am constantly`barking orders“ and then I spend the evening feeling bad when they are all in bed. I am going to try to remember this tomorrow… Thanks!

  5. i just did a random search and found your blog. i am a mother of a 3 1/2 year old and a 16 month old, with a husband that works away from home for 3 weeks at a time. we are coming up on the last week of daddy away, and i am getting pretty worn down. i notice as my demeanor changes with the fatigue of doing everything on my own, they get difficult and unhappy. this was a very helpful and happy thing to read. just wanted to say thank you. i am going to print this and put it somewhere to remind myself daily how important a message this is! : )

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