One of my favorite communication tools for both children and parents is called the "I-Message." The "I-Message" also known as an "I-Statement" allows one to resolve conflicts and challenges peacefully without blame. Children as young as 3 can use this format with guidance from an adult.
The format for the I-Message is:
I feel (state your feelings) when (state the undesired behavior you wish to stop) because (state why you feel the why you do) and I want (state your future expectations and or future consequences).
i.e.- I feel frustrated when you ignore me because it's rude and hurts my feelings and I want you to respond to me when I ask you a question.
The I-Message allows a person to express themselves without the other person denying it since one cannot deny another person's feelings. This communication tool also lets the person know what the other person specifically needs. This is so important for both parents and children because this eliminates assumptions as well as helps one advocate for themselves in a respectful way. I always encourage practicing saying "I-Messages" because we do not normally talk to people this way and it's hard to confront someone and do it in a respectful way especially if feeling triggered or hurt.
To make it easier for my clients to use the "I-Message," I created the "I-Message" Sticky Notepad.
This notepad is great for everyone in the family and can be used at home and in the classroom. The format is already written out so you can just focus on what you want to say. Writing down your I-Message also helps with self-regulation.
See below for more examples and you can purchase your own "I-Message" Sticky Notepads here!
"These I message sticky notes have been so handy to have around. When one of my kids is feeling down or angry, I’ve been having them fill these out as well as letting them have their space to figure out what they’re feeling. It’s been an awesome way to have another way to connect with my child, and my seven year old loves that it’s short, simple and to the point. They’re a simple yet effective tool to have around." -Kiki Mother of two