In Action: Power of “Yes Mommy”

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I wanted to share how powerful “Yes Mommy” can be for those of you who aren’t enjoying the benefits of utilizing it.

Kaitlyn is a two year old. While she is quite obedient, she still has her battles dealing with her wanting to do everything herself and deciding when she will do it. Whenever she hesitates to obey me, I repeat my instruction and follow it with “say Yes Mommy.” So let’s say I have told her to come to me so I can help her get dressed. She looks at me and starts to tell me why she can’t come at the moment. I say, “Kaitlyn, come to Mommy so you can get dressed. Say Yes Mommy.” What is her reaction? She smiles a big smile, says “Yes, Mommy” and runs to me.

Does that sound powerful? Does it sound too good to be true? It works! For Kaitlyn, it is 100% effective. Now, she has grown up witnessing “Yes Mommy” with an older brother. She has also been told to say “Yes Mommy” for quite some time. I started this later in life with Brayden, but saw results so quickly that I was sure to use it with Kaitlyn from as early we could.

I have written on the power of this a few times. Even so, I am still shocked, amazed, and pleased at how well it works in getting my independent two year old to obey me. It is well worth your efforts!

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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19 Comments

  1. Stephanie C.
    August 14, 2009 / 4:12 PM

    Thank you for your post on this. It's something we have been working on with our very independent almost 2 year old, and this just gave me some positive reinforcement for our efforts.

  2. Matt and Brooke
    August 14, 2009 / 6:05 PM

    "yes Mommy" works wonders for my brother's family. I have a 17 month old who isn't saying two word phrases yet. Is there a way to teach them "yes mommy" at this stage or do you recommend waiting until they can actually say it? Thanks for your help! Love your blog!

  3. Rachel
    August 14, 2009 / 7:57 PM

    Thank you again for the reminder of how powerful it is! I am def. not consistent with having my 2.5 year old say it!

  4. Deonne
    August 15, 2009 / 2:39 AM

    My oldest will soon be 12 and believe it or not, we still use this phrase in our home. When I call them by name, it is much more pleasant to hear, "Yes, Mom?" than "What?" This has been one of my favorite tips I learned from Babywise – many years ago! Thanks for sharing your ideas with fellow Babywise parents.

  5. Don and Denise Sullivan
    August 15, 2009 / 3:52 PM

    We've taught our 2-1/2 yr son to say this since he was a 1yr old and it does work. Now that he's entering 3, he has become very independent & stubborn. He'll give a "yes mom" but occasionally it's followed by whining or a frustration fit because it doesn't fit in with HIS plans. However, we continue to be consistent and even if it means a trip to the step stool until he's finished crying, he will eventually comply and when we ask him why he was disciplined, he'll answer correctly. The positive reports we get from the nursery, about him being helpful tell us that it's worth the work and consistency! Thanks for the post!

  6. Chantel
    August 15, 2009 / 6:38 PM

    I was hoping to ask a question that doesn't necessarily correlate to this post. I have a new baby- about 3 weeks old and having a hard time with the eat, awake, sleep deal. Do I let her just cry herself to sleep? She isn't falling asleep by herself. I've let her cry it out a couple times for a few minutes at a time and she'll stop crying and I'll think she's asleep just to have her wake up crying all over again. Feeling really frustrated and overwhelmed. Also, she doesn't seem contenet when she is awake. Is that colic? If you could email me at [email protected] I would really appreciate it. I have been researching your blog and just can't seem to find specific answers to these concerns. Thanks

  7. Jessica Molepske
    August 16, 2009 / 12:07 AM

    I can't wait to start using Yes Mommy! I have a 16 month old. How did you start this? He is not very verbal yet but does know Mommy. I know that he knows what yes means but he doesn't say the word yes. Do I just start saying "say yes mommy" to get him used to the phrase?? or do we wait until he is older? thank you!

  8. Tiffany
    August 18, 2009 / 9:23 PM

    We taught our son a few signs before he started speaking. He nodded his head for the word yes. He is two now and "yes mommy" works great with him. He has been speaking 2 word phrases for about 2 months now, even before he could say more than two word at a time he started responded to "yes mommy" with a nod of his head and then obeying.

  9. Plowmanators
    August 22, 2009 / 10:10 PM

    You are welcome Stephanie!

  10. Plowmanators
    August 22, 2009 / 10:11 PM

    Brooke, you could do sign language or nod head. Or just "yes" is on the path to what you want.

  11. Plowmanators
    August 22, 2009 / 10:12 PM

    You are welcome Rachel!

  12. Plowmanators
    August 22, 2009 / 10:13 PM

    Deonne, I think that is great! I think that is much better than "what." And much more courteous in general. I have noticed that when my kids call my name, I don't just say "what." I look at them and say, "Yes, Brayden." It is just nice.

  13. Plowmanators
    August 24, 2009 / 3:37 PM

    You are welcome Denise! Brayden also has trouble with this; he is very willfull 🙂 Kaitlyn has no issues, but Brayden will sometimes try a "yes" without the "mommy" just so he can maintain some control over the situation. I wonder if it is an oldest thing? I am an oldest, and I can totally see myself doing the same thing 🙂

  14. Plowmanators
    August 24, 2009 / 3:42 PM

    Chantel, the first sleep goal for the newborn phase will be that your baby sleeps when it is naptime. If your baby has a hard time falling asleep on her own, you can rock her to sleep, or hold her until she falls asleep, etc. Once she is older and you are both ready, you can start CIO if you want to. You could also try the Baby Whisperer method right now (see blog label "Baby Whisperer"). Your second goal is to have her sleep in her own bed, so once she is asleep, you want to try to have her in bed.Your third goal is to have her sleep in her own bed and fall asleep on her own. That can come later if she isn't ready right now.If she isn't content ALWAYS, then she might have gas pain or reflux. Look into those issues. If it is just evening, it could be the witching hour. It could also be colic. See the blog labels "reflux" "gas" "witching hour" and "colic" to help figure out if any of those apply to her.

  15. Plowmanators
    August 24, 2009 / 3:44 PM

    Jessica,You can start now. You can have him nod his head yes if he will do that. You can try yes mommy and he will most likely imitatei to the best of his ability. If that means it is "mommy" that is totally fine. Just modify as it suits his ability.

  16. Plowmanators
    August 24, 2009 / 3:44 PM

    Thanks Tiffany, good tip!

  17. fickchantellelee
    September 17, 2009 / 12:13 PM

    Hi, Roxy-lee is 13months old and I have been trying "yes mom" from 12 months, but not consistent… If I ask her to come to me and see ignores me I repeat and tell her to sy yes mommy (she can't speak yet but she did nod her head once when I asked her to say yes mommy)After I ask her to say yes mommy she throughs a mini fit and will throw something on the floor. Do I just continue? And what should I do when she does have a mini fit do I ignore her, because if I pick her up and tell her to stop she just excellerate?/?

  18. fickchantellelee
    September 17, 2009 / 12:13 PM

    Hi, Roxy-lee is 13months old and I have been trying "yes mom" from 12 months, but not consistent… If I ask her to come to me and see ignores me I repeat and tell her to sy yes mommy (she can't speak yet but she did nod her head once when I asked her to say yes mommy)After I ask her to say yes mommy she throughs a mini fit and will throw something on the floor. Do I just continue? And what should I do when she does have a mini fit do I ignore her, because if I pick her up and tell her to stop she just excellerate?/?

  19. Plowmanators
    October 6, 2009 / 3:34 AM

    I would continue to ask her to say yes mommy. If she doesn't obey, tell her that if she doesn't, you will have to XYZ for her. "If you don't come to mommy, then I will have to come get you. Come to mommy. Say Yes, Mommy." If she doesn't, go get her. Most toddlers love to "do it themselves" so to have mom get them is a huge punishment :)Figure out the best reaction to her mini-fits for her personality. Some do it for the attention. If that is her case, then ignoring it would be the best option.

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