"Don't do that!"
"How many times do I have to tell you?"
"What did I just say?!"
"Am I talking to myself?"
That last one is my favourite. I sound like my mother (sorry Mum!) It's that old chestnut, all the things you promised you'd never say to your own children because it drove you up the wall when you were young.
Catch them doing something good.
It's easy to let them get on with it when they're eating their dinner nicely. And so easy to get on their case when they're climbing the tv shelf again. Or brushing their teeth independently, smearing toothpaste all over the bathroom. Or playing hide & seek under the table instead of eating their dinner. (All examples just from today. Just so you know.)
But then I sound like a nag. And I start to get frustrated with myself and with them. Why do I have to say the same things over and over? Why do they seem to do things designed to wind me up? Why can't I be more gentle and patient with them?