The two words that save my sanity as a mom of four kids

Try AgainIf you’re just here for the deals, feel free to just skip right over this one…it won’t hurt my feelings at all!  But if you’re in the thick of this whole kid-raising thing like I am, here’s a little trick from the trenches and a word of encouragement today :)


They know better.  They really do.  I’ve taught them better than this.  They are capable of more, even the little one.

But these four passionate little loves of my life feel things deeply.  Everything.  Even their need for Lucky Charms, or a piece of cheese, or a blue marker, or the one specific tow truck out of the 5,000 that live in about 85 different locations throughout our home at any given moment.

I get it.  I really do.  But it also drives me nuts to be yelled at like that.  I love them with all my heart, but I’m their mom, not their servant.  I used to feel the need to launch into a lecture about manners, respect, asking politely, and all that jazz, until my brilliant friend Katy shared two words that revolutionized my response to moments like this.

“Try Again.”

Boom.  Nine times out of ten, they shut off the whine factory, think for a second, and ask the right way.

They already know the right way, and they don’t want to hear a lecture any more than I want to give one.  Rather than escalating the moment by responding the way I feel (annoyed, indignant, disrespected…they come by that whole “deep feeling” thing naturally, BTW…), those words redirect us to something that will fix both problems.  They calm down and quit being little dictators, and I’m able to hear what they need (which sometimes gets lost in all the screaming drama), and respond accordingly.

Without a huge explanation, it sends the message that they need to be respectful in their requests, and that’s as much for my benefit as theirs.  It’s one of my pet peeves to repeat something over and over and over to them a million times.  Teaching is a huge part of parenting, but repeating something they already know drives be batty.  This way I can say two words (maybe with a brief reminder of “Please ask me using a nice, calm voice” if necessary), and they get the message.

Do you have any other tricks that help you deal with whining or demanding kids?  I’d love for you to share them in the comments!  And if you try out the “Try Again” trick, let me know how it works for you!

As a mom of four kids (now ages 10, 8, 6, and 4), I’ve learned a lot in the past nine years.  By no means to I have it all figured out–far from it!  I’d love to share some of my favorite Mom Hacks with you–simple little tricks that make a big difference in my daily life with my kids.  What else would you like to hear about?  Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!


  1. meg says

    My kids aren’t kids anymore…they r 18 and 24. What worked for me was saying ” I don’t think so”. While giving them “the look”. Lol. you are absolutely right that it works so much better then the constant lecture. Even as old as my kids are…they still sometimes get “the look” and “I don’t think so”. Works evertime!

  2. Punisher Pixie says

    I use the exact same words! Love and Logic books have really helped me to limit the lecturing and guilt that I was applying to my Littles. I love your article and your website! Thanks for all you do for our family!

  3. Kay Mcc says

    My 9 yo and I have been struggling a lot. This very well may have saved my household. .. my mind is blown this morning. I cannot wait to get to work with this new tool :) I cannot thank you enough for sharing <3

    • Megan says

      As we are finding out in our household, 9 is a special, special age ;) Old enough to do a lot, too old for some things, and not old enough for others…and managing all those big feelings…and probably the slightest bit of the first hint of hormones starting to play into it… It’s not an easy time for us or them, is it? Hang in there–we’ll all muddle through together! :)

  4. aeriel says

    I too have a 9 year old, who acts like he is a teen sometime. however I do use the try again with him. most of the time it is in the mornings for some reason he feels the needed to be the most lazy then. although he is very able to make his breakfast himself he thinks i needed to server it to him that is were the reminder comes in most offended. I love the article thanks.

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