The Orange Rhino’s Top 100 Alternatives to Yelling

So, learning to stop yelling can be, um, how shall I put it…difficult? And boring. And serious. And just all around blech. So when I started The Orange Rhino Challenge I decided that in order to help me stay on task and not give up on the difficult challenge, that I would to have fun with learning to yell less and love more. Here are the top 100 Alternatives that I created and tried on my journey; some are outright wacky, some are just funny, and some are plain fun. But I have found that in the heat of the moment, they all work because they do one or more of the following: help me calm down, get my kids attention, turn my negative thoughts into nicer thoughts, or make us all laugh and chill out. I say keep trying them out until you find one, or two, or hopefully ten or more, that really work for you. And remember, have fun with it!

During my Orange Rhino Challenge I used…
- Fun Alternatives
- I’ll look like a fool Alternatives
- I’ll be considered a bad parent Alternatives
- Preventative Alternatives (surround yourself with reminders) 
- You’ll think I’m Cheesy Alternatives
- Serious/Expected Alternatives 

Fun Alternatives:
1.  Run around the house  (adrenaline boost)
2.  Start talking jibberish  (makes kids laugh & stop pummeling each other)
3.  Start blowing bubbles  (reminds me of childhood & that I should CHILL OUT)
3 Fridge4.  Get the camera  (forces me to see behavior wasn’t so bad)
5.  Laugh. Even if you don’t want to.  (laughter is good for the soul)
6.  Bang arms on chest like a gorilla  (a good release and a great entertainment for kids)
7.  Put hand in front of mouth and pretend to “toot” a horn  (great attention getter)
8.  Do Jump and Jacks  (releases positive chemicals or something like that!)
9.  Do push ups  (see above)
10.  Start clapping & go until kids have stopped annoying behavior (a good release)
11.  Start drumming on table/counter until rage is gone  (a REALLY good release)
12.  Start the Hokey Pokey  (silliness can snap anyone out of it)
13.  Start a Dance Party  (adrenaline + fun, what’s not to love?)
14.  Sing. I especially like “La la la, la la, la LAAAAA”  (it’s unexpected which works wonders)
15.  Pretend to have Laryngitis  (silence also works wonders)
16.  Play hide ‘n seek. You hide. They seek. For a LONG time.  (fun game can snap anyone out of it)
17.  Put funny glasses on and “look” through their eyes  (they laugh, you find empathy) 
18.  Give a High Five  (The “slap” slaps you out desire to yell as does the touch of their sweet hands)
19.  Try to do a somersault (makes you laugh and maybe even pee your pants. Oh, but not me. As if).
20.  Speak in a Robot voice (makes kids stop and look at you and wonder, who is she?!)
21.  Start Playing with the kids (makes you realize how fun it is to be a kid!)
Tip 1422.  Grab children and hug them (it just feels good all over for everyone!)
23.  Start doing “crab walks” (entertaining and exercise releases good chemicals or something like that!)
24.  Spray silly string (a fun diverter)
25.  Bang a pot or pan (releases anger & starts a music party)
26.  Start running in place (adrenaline boost )
27.  Tickle child you want to yell at (laughter does the body good, more good than milk!)
28.  Pretend you are hurt and need Dr. so and so, insert kids name (kids come running)
29.  Go read favorite page of 50 Shades of Grey (did I just write that?! Next subject. Blush. Blush.)
30.  Whistle. Loudly. (helps you focus on breathing and annoys kids so they re-focus on you!)
31.  Hum. Even louder than whistle (annoys kids & gets them to  stop behavior and tell you to stop!)
32.  Pop some orange M&M’s into mouth (chocolate is a great mood changer)!
33.  Eat a carrot or an apple. Just something hard and crunchy (crunch out stress!)
34.  Eat frozen grapes & pretend for a second kids are sleeping & the grapes are wine (okay, it’s a stretch but reaching into freezer snapped me out of my moods!)

turned funny 5

That would be my husband because he created this alternative and we both love it! Thanks hon!

“I look like a Fool” Alternatives:
35.  Yell into a Closet  (clothes don’t have feelings)
36.  Yell into a Kitchen Cabinet  (cereal boxes don’t have feelings either)
37 . Open up the freezer and put head in (it cools me down & makes kids laugh)
38.  Raise two hands in air (gets kids attention & warns that I’m about to blow)
39.  Go to the bathroom and scream into the toilet, then flush it away  (um symbolic?)
40.  Shake body, arms and legs  (like The Wiggles, Shake shake Shake your silly’s out)
41.  Get on back and put legs and arms in the air and howl like a Dog  (yes, I did this)

“I’ll be considered a bad parent” Alternatives:
42.  Put the TV on for longer than normally feels okay at really bad moments  (sometimes TV is better
than yelling, right?)
43.  Have ice cream sundaes together  (fun family activity makes me want to have fun, not yell)
44.  Start the day with Orange Yogurt  (A very small food coloring goes a long way)
45.  Sit down and “watch” the circus (gain perspective and laughter)
46.  Put ear buds in and listen to Radio! (ah, my kind of “noise”!)
47.  Close your eyes & put head in hands in disbelief. Nope I have NEVER done this either.
48.  Open a window and breathe in fresh air (kids laugh, what is she doing? Is she a dog?!)
49.  Close eyes and picture yourself on a beach, with a daiquiri in hand  (takes you to your happy place)
50.  Keep orange gum/tic tacs in purse (chewing /sucking sounds drown out whining!)

Preventive Alternatives (surround yourself with reminders that you don’t want to yell):
51.  Put orange post it notes all over the house ESPECIALLY where one is apt to yell
52.  Dress your kids in orange (a totally in your face reminder)
53.  Post pictures of kids in problem areas (forces you to fall in love all over again)
54.  Buy orange napkins and keep in the kitchen
55.  Buy (or receive for Mother’s Day!) orange kitchen towels
56.  Wear more orange (necklace, clothes)

I need all the reminders I can get!!!

I need all the reminders I can get!!!

57.  Paint your nails orange (reminds you every morning to be warm and composed)
58.  Print out Orange Rhino Logo, attach popsicle sticks and have Kids hold it up when crankiness starts
59.  Get kids involved! Have them yell “ORANGE RHINO!!!” when they sense eruption coming!
60.  Wear an orange hair elastic around wrist
61.  Place orange flowers in a vase in kitchen
62.  Serve Orange Foods/Drinks  (oranges, peaches, cheese, Cheez its, carrots)
63.  Drink from an Orange Straw (simply reminds you of the color orange, feelings of warmth!)
64.  Light a candle at known bad times, um, bed time? (Relaxes your mood)
65.  Use aromatherapy lotion on hands…instead of slamming a door in frustration (massage is relaxing) 
66.  Say “I love you. I love you. I love you.”  (Hard to yell when you realize you love someone).
67.  Think things could be worse (yes he’s on table, but he isn’t swinging from the chandelier. Yet.)
68.  Grab play-doh or silly putty and squeeze (don’t forget to stop squeezing)
69.  Drink a glass of water (forces you to take a breath. Or two.)
70.  Splash cold water on your face (snaps you right out of bad mood)
71.  Put a warm wash cloth on your neck (ah…relaxation)
72.  Text a friend announcing you’re going to lose it  (hopefully he/she will say “don’t!!)
73.  Set up phone calendar to notify you every 30 min to not yell.  (annoying but helpful)
74.  Stare at something in room that you love.  (finding happy moments erases anger)
75.  Ask your child WHY are you crying?  (the response will make you give a hug instead)
76.  Ask your child WHY are you doing that?  (the response will make you go, duh)
77. Tell yourself “I won’t yell. I won’t yell.”  (Tricks you into believing you won’t!)
78.  Put a finger over mouth in shhh position (creates physical barrier to yelling)
79.  Ring a bell like pre-school teachers (casts a magical spell on kids)
80.  Look at this cheat sheet! (gives you ideas or makes you laugh?!)
81.  If help is around, tag out. (gives you a well-deserved break!) 
82.  Go through yelling motions but don’t let voice out (shocks kids and yourself that you didn’t yell, releases endorphins from pride!)
83.  Go to www.facebook.com/TheOrangeRhino  and yell at me (that’s what the page is for!)

“You’ll think I am cheesy” Alternatives:
84.  Say out loud “Serenity Now.”
85.  Say out loud “They are just kids and I love them.”
86.  Say out loud “It’s Gonna be a GREEEEAT day” (like the guy in Jerry Maguire)
87.  Call a family council meeting and have everyone sit criss- cross applesauce (forces kids to stop)
88.  Look at TV and pretend there is a hidden camera (fear of judgment works wonders)
89.  Smile (rumor has it if you fake it, you’ll feel it?)
90.  Cry. Yup cry. Show your kids you’re frustrated (brings out empathy from kiddos & new behavior)
91.  Say positive thoughts out loud (forces you to see good, not bad and forces desire to be kind)
92.  Pull out family photo album (takes everyone to a happy, smiley place)
93.  Tell your kids how you feel (gets love and concern and teaches them to express feelings!)

More Serious/Expected Alternatives:
94.  Count to 10. Or 100. Or 1000 until you calm down.  (forces one to regroup and get perspective)
95.  Walk away  (more opportunity to gain perspective)
96.  Take a deep breath  (if one is breathing, one can’t yell!)
97.  Whisper  (don’t know why this works, it just does!)
98.  Turn the Lights off  (the shocking factor stops kids in tracks and adds calmness)
99.  Keep a journal and write why you want to scream  (paper is a great listener)
Stress Ball 2100.  Grab your hands together and squeeze (a great release)

* * * * *
“Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids– and How You Can Too!” is The Orange Rhino’s (a.k.a. Sheila McCraith’s) parenting memoir and guide from her year long journey to stop yelling. It shares more alternatives like these as well as manageable actions and inspirational personal stories to help you on your own journey to yell less and love more. It is due out October 2014 but can be pre-ordered now to get the best price. Order here.

2 thoughts on “The Orange Rhino’s Top 100 Alternatives to Yelling

  1. Thank you for going through the trouble of writing up these lists of alternatives to yelling…just knowing there are alternatives (and silly ones to boot, lol), makes not yelling easier. I read another article (little buddha) this week on addiction, and what he said about training our minds to stop believing one thing (in this case, ‘yelling makes my kids behave’ or ‘I can’t get anything done if I don’t yell’) and start believing another (using your lists), more healthy options, can break us from the yelling “addiction”…because I truly believe that MY problem with yelling is that it became a true addiction. Now when I feel the urge to yell, I can look to your coping measures. And when I do yell, I no longer justify it in my head or make things worse with my kids; but now I have the strength within to apologize and make it a healthy learning experience for my family.

  2. Thank you for your wonderful creative ideas for yelling less.
    My Book, “Is That Me Yelling? is out in stores now. I would love to meet you sometime. Maybe we can collaborate on something….since I’m finding that parents are so grateful for help in this area. Thank you for your wisdom.
    Rona

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