The Law Of Threes

Tell me I’m not alone here. It’s becoming apparently clear to me that to get anything done in this house, I have to repeat things over and over…to be precise, three times.

Take last night for example. Kids are swimming, it’s time to eat.

“Get out of the pool.” Wait…patiently.

“Get out of the pool!” Notice I am being ignored.

“GET OUT OF THE POOL!” (now indignant)

Pint sized harrumphs greet me and they get out of the pool. Dinner battle is up next. And we all know how much fun that can be.

“Kids? Time for dinner!” (said in nice voice) No response.

“KIDS! Time for DINNER!” (little firmer)

“KIDS! TIME FOR DIN-NER!!!!!!” (losing it)

Here’s where the law of three kicks into psycho gear.


I’m not sure what the kids thought of this because they were afraid to make eye contact with me but The Man took his seat pretty damn fast, I’ll tell you that much. At least one person is listening to me in this house. Hmph.


  1. NGS said:

    I had a roommate in college who was an elementary education major. She learned in class that if you want to give kids instructions, you have to tell them three times. She often used this same approach with me to get me to make my bed!

  2. Mo said:

    My husband was a cop for 23 years. Same philosophy as the teacher—repeat something three times. It gets their attention!

  3. Jim said:

    Three? That’s it? You have it easy. It used to be 5 or 6 until I learned the ‘I’ll walk over and stand in front of you and tell you since it’s ultimately less effort for me’ tactic.

  4. Keely said:

    I don’t have to take this approach with my son yet, but with my husband it’s less of the ‘three times’ rule and more the ‘one week in advance’ rule. Want the bathroom clean? one week notice. Want the oil changed in the car? One week notice.


  5. foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) said:

    My husband has taken to tapping his foot on the kitchen floor three times to get the boys to come upstairs for dinner.

    Huh. That makes it sound like we lock the kids away until such time as we feel like feeding them. Not really. Not every day, anyway.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment recently. I’m going to enjoy coming back around here!

  6. Jen @ blissfully caffeinated said:

    Ohmahgod, I get so TIRED of repeating myself.

    I don’t like the 3 times rule. I wish there was a 1 time rule. Say it once, it happens. But it’s probably like my mom always said, “Wish in one hand and spit in the other. See which one fills up first.”

    She’s a wise woman.

    I wish I had words of encouragement for you, but I’m in the same boat.

  7. Tuesday said:

    I repeat myself to my kids as much as I do to my husband! I think he has selective hearing/no comprehension and perhaps even a hearing problem.

  8. jenboglass (steenkybee) said:

    It could be worse. What if it was the rule of five? At least three is a prime number. Hey! According to Schoolhouse Rock, three is a magic number.

    Ah, Stiletto Mom, you kill me every time. You kill me every time. I said, you kill me every time!

  9. HeatherPride said:

    Well, at least you weren’t screaming: NO POOPING IN THE YARD! Which is what my husband and I were screaming to our 4-year old last night. Ahhhhh - more details to come in a later post, as soon as I am over the shock of it enough to talk about it.

  10. DCD said:

    Sigh. Can absolutely relate. Except it’s not only the repetitions, we usually end up resorting to, “If you don’t (wash hands, pick up, come inside, etc, etc) you will lose (any number of fabulous prizes including stories, tv, toys, etc, etc)!!!

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