How many times a day do you count to 3?  Have you ever noticed that children going into preschool can all count to three like pros?  Do you think it's because of Big Bird and Elmo or do you think it's because so many parents out there will give their children "until the count of 3" to pick up their toys, put down the toy, finish their dinner, get dressed, etc.?  I know my children were masters at counting to 3 by the time they turned 3!  For those of you that can relate, I bet your children are so advanced that they even know fractions.  Counting sounds more like, 1...2...2 1/2...2 3/4...2 7/8.... Though it sometimes feels like you're counting to 3 close to 300 times a day, remember why you're doing this.  There will come a point where an entire day goes by where you will not have to count once.  This day will certainly have it's moments of asking your child to put down the toy, pick up the toy or finish dinner, but they'll do it without you even having to say 1.  Why is this?  It's because you as a parent followed through whatever the consequence was when you did actually get to 3.  "If you don't get your shoes on by the time I count to 3, there will be no TV time when we get home."  If that sounds familiar and you followed through on no TV time, your children learned a valuable lesson.  Listening to Mom/Dad means positive consequences.  Not listening to Mom/Dad means negative consequences.  The lessons get bigger as they get older and so do the consequences, but life is filled with consequences to our actions, even as adults.  As exhausting as it is to feel like you're saying the same thing over and over again, know that you are not alone, that you're doing this right and that it will end.  For now, though, take a deep breath with me and count to 3....

Karen Becker is an author, speaker and personal growth coach.  She has a Master's Degree in Counseling and applies these skills when coaching clients.  She has years of experience coaching clients in all areas of life: parenting, co-parenting after divorce and in personal growth/wellness.  She can be reached at

Kaern Becker, MA Life Coach