DISCIPLINE and order. It is really easy to do if you follow just a few simple steps.
Just like ABC, you tick off your list of things to say and do and you have the perfect child who always does as they are told.
Because, of course, while parents may have read these steps, our children certainly have not.
I sometimes feel like a broken record in the morning, telling my little man to get dressed. Some mornings he does it without fuss, and other days it really is an inconvenience and interruption to his playtime.
‘Why can’t I spend the day in my pyjama, mummy?’ he asks as I start my count to three.
Oh, the power of counting to three...
Meanwhile I have the opposite problem with his sister, who insists on trying to do everything herself, and therefore it takes five times longer than it ought to.
Yet the next day things can go off perfectly and without a hitch, even though I have done nothing differently.
Time out, reward jars, early bedtimes, trips to the park – you name the carrot (or stick) and I have tried it.
And sometimes it works to perfection, while other days I might as well be talking to a wall for all the impact I am having.
But we get there... eventually.
Of course, the most challenging thing for me at the moment is a fairly new development which I now have to deal with. The pair of them ganging up and colluding.
They can be sitting as good as gold at the breakfast table and then all of a sudden one of them (usually her) will do something a little bit naughty.
Then the other one will laugh, the first one will do it again, cue more laughter and a scenario which spirals into naughtiness and only ends when I separate the little laughing hyenas.
These ABC discipline rules say very little about what to do when you are outnumbered!
Still at least I know there will always be one time of the day when they will be perfect angels. When they are asleep!