How many times have you been in this situation – you and your child have a great time playing in the living room. There are toys scattered everywhere, but the mess was worth it because this was quality time right? And now it’s time to clean up. The time you dread. The time when your child changes from smiling and playful to instant meltdown. Here’s the first in a series of quick tips on how to handle this (and similar) situations. Quick tip #1: don’t give a command in the form of a question. If you want your child to clean up, don’t ask them if they ‘can’ or ‘would like to’ clean up. If you asked me, “Would you like to go to work today?” I could easily answer ‘no’. Thanks for asking me, but I would rather spend the day watching a movie or going fishing. So if the situation calls for a command, use a command, not a question. Iin our example, you should always say something like “Please clean up your toys now”. Very simple, but you’d be surprised at how hard it is for parents to break this bad habit. If your child defies or questions you at this point, you can reply once with an additional rationale for your command. A rationale usually follows the word ‘because’. So in this case, “Please pick up your toys now because if you leave them out somebody could trip over them.” Try practicing this skill in the next week, and notice how often you ask questions when a simple command is all that is necessary. And watch for the next quick tip in this series!