Parenting Tool: How To Motivate Kids Without Nagging

Parenting Tool To Motivate Kids Without NaggingKids hate it when mom and dad nag. Parents don’t want to be nagging their children either. Here’s a parenting tool to motivate your kids without being grumpy.

I have a little parenting tool I’d love to share.

Actually, it’s super little because it’s one of these:


Yes, I’m talking about one of those teeny tiny pointy “greater than signs” – which represents when something is greater or less than something else.

I now use that little “greater than sign” with my son (Ari Salmansohn) – to motivate him to be his best self – so I don’t have to be a nagging mommy.

Here’s how this “greater than sign” tool helps parents to stop nagging.

Let’s say we’re all having dinner.  Suddenly, my son decides he wants to play on his ipad rather than enjoy conversation with our family.

Well, that’s when I pull out my “greater than sign.”

parenting without nagging so you manage your kids emotionsI say to him: “Which is more important – technology or people?”

My son’s answer is always the same (even if it’s sometimes through a whiny voice): “People!”

And then my son puts down the ipad and joins back into family conversation.

Basically, the “greater than sign” forces my son to become highly aware of his core values and priorities.

In the example above the greater than sign wound up persuading my son to prioritize the joy of eye to eye contact over the joy of ipad.

people > technology

Parenting ToolI have many occasions when I use the power of the “greater than sign”  to motivate my son to behave better without me nagging.

  • Sometimes I will draw a little “greater than sign” on a piece of paper.
  • Or I will form the “greater than sign” with my index finger and thumb – so as to get my son to truly focus on this concept of something being “greater than” something else.
  • Although mostly I will simply ask the question “which is more important?” And then I let my son do the math in his head.

Examples of how a “greater than sign” helps parents motivate kids without nagging

I might ask my child which is more important:

  • playing with the dog all morning
  • eating a healthy breakfast so you have energy for the day

Or I might ask which is more important:

  • changing your shirt five times
  • being on time for school

Parenting tip to Motivate Kids Without NaggingPlus I might ask my child which is more important:

  • the temporary pain of water in your eyes
  • washing your hair so it’s clean and smells awesome

And I might ask my child which is more important:

  • watching tv all night
  • getting a good night’s sleep so you wake up refreshed?

Also…I might ask my child which is more important:

  • doing silly video games
  • learning how to read really good, interesting books which will offer him lessons for life

Basically, whenever I’m in conflict with my son, I pull out the “greater than sign.”  And I force him to take time to think about his priorities.

Parenting Tool without nagging your kidsThe “greater than sign” not only helps to solve the specific problem we’re having in that particular moment. It also empowers my child to develop an inner awareness of what his core values are – for his longterm future.

Basically, the “greater than sign” motivates my son to regularly tap into his core values whenever he needs to make a decision.

As a result, I’m teaching my child to become a wiser decision maker – without me around – for the rest of his life.

Oh – and I have one quickie warning about using the “greater than sign.”

It’s so effective, don’t be surprised if your kids sometimes use “the greater than sign” back at you.

Recently I was working at home on my computer late at night. My son wanted me to stop and play with him. Next thing I knew, my son pulled out that “greater than sign” and flashed it in my face.

“Mom,” he said, “Which is more important – your computer or people?”

I chuckled then gave him a big hug. “People,” I said. “Absolutely, definitely, completely people.”

Then I closed my computer and I played with my son for the rest of the evening.

Yes, I love that little pointy triangular symbol. It sure knows how to get its teeny tiny points across.

Want more energy to play with your kids?

Me too! I’m a late in life in mom – and I’m doing everything to keep my energy high – and my life long. In fact, I promised my son I’d do everything I could to live to 100! My son asked me to live to 200 -but I bargained him down to 100. He accepted my counter offer. I then went on a quest to learn everything I could about longevity and health. I turned my 2 years of intensive research on aging into a book – called LIFE IS LONG – from Random House. Learn more here!

Think happier. Think calmer.

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