The small ask, big ask. Parenting tip, get tasks done!

This parenting advice comes from the world of sales and psychology, but nevertheless, it works to get your child to accomplish tasks.

If you’ve never heard of the small ask, big ask technique, it goes by many different names, usually referenced by; self-help gurus, NLP practitioners, and by sales coaches.

The just of the method is it you ask for a small favor in order to acquire a yes.

Which in turn makes you more susceptible to saying yes to a more significant request.

This is used in a lot of sales techniques to sell larger products. Big box retail giants use this technique all the time to sell you products.

Online web stores use this method when they offer you a free trial.

By enticing you with a free sign up, trial period.

The big ask of you is for you to produce a credit card to pay after the trial offer expires.

So you may ask yourself why in the world would I bring this up in the world of parenting.

NLP deals with neurological brain functions and pathways.


 NLP stands for neuro-linguistic programming, basically how to hack the brain, by understanding the brain’s pathways and functions.

So this technique can be applied to selling products it can also be used to motivating individuals to be better.

131 conversations that engage kids book cover

A better way of breaking through and motivating

No matter if your child is doing great, has some anger issues, communication issues, resentment issues, or perhaps autistic.

These techniques works because the brain operates the same way. Even with autistic children, this technique works.

In short, all you’re doing is asking something small that they can do and then asking for a more substantial thing for them to do.

By showing confidence that they can do one step they can take four more steps.

The main reason why we don’t listen to other people is because of fear or because of resentment.

Fear and resentment coincide with each other, they have a tendency to feed off one another.

A child may not listen to you because they may resent something about you, but in turn, it has something to do with themselves.

They are just projecting that on you.

So how would you get past that resentment or past that fear of trying something new?

Because when you ask something of them that they have not done before.

They fear that change and unknown.

Read my post about raising your child like an apprentice.

A Child standing on a ladder trying to touch the sky

The first step in motivating and communicating

So Step One is basically listening to your child.

You may act like you are hearing what your child is saying but are you really listening to what they are saying.

Pay attention to their body language and how they are placing their words in their story.

What words are they inflecting on and emphasizing?

A lot of what we say comes from our body and also how we use our words.

What words that they are saying but how they are speaking. The way we structurally order our words expresses how we feel.

Many people when they argue, they hold on to certain words we use and disregard the context.

Tone, rhythm, body language, expression and demeanor are all factors that a parent must pay attention to when listening. Use your other senses, besides seeing and hearing the words they are speaking.

Those types of people bring those words up, again and again in a debate.

Due to the fact that a word definition is different from person to person.

The individual who just received the information may value the word differently. Their definition of the word could also be incorrect. From the one using it or from the one receiving it.

You have to understand that words mean different things to different people and have different values. You may say one thing, but your child sees that word as something else or vice versa.

Instead of listening to what words they used, listen to the underlying connotation of their story. Instead of drilling your children for information let them tell you the information the way that they remember, then ask open-ended questions that reveal more details about what really happened. Let them finish their story without interrupting them.

Group of children holding hands in a heart shape

 I listen to my teenage daughters when they tell me a story even if I don’t agree, with what happened or how they did it I’ll listen to what they say without interjection.

Long ago I used to interject and give my opinion with my daughters when they were young.

Again I would tell them what they were doing wrong,  but that never seemed to help.

It wasn’t until I decided that I would just listen and then give advice with stories and options. Both my girls started making better decisions on their own and letting me in on their decision-making.

They treat me like an adviser not like a friend but an adviser who advises them on good solid advice that they can take or leave.

What usually happens is they come up with their own solution to their problem by giving them multiple ways of solving the problem that I can see.

They were able to come up with their own solution based upon their criteria what they were able to do.

You really have to think back to when you were a kid and what you were capable of doing at that time. If you think about it, there were many times when I know that I wasn’t strong enough to do what I’m capable of doing now.

No one was really listening to me as a child even to be able to make a stand for myself.

If you remember that kind of feeling a what it is to be a child or a teenager, then you’ll begin to realize that not all the options that you would do today are what you would have done back then.

Listen to your child, understand, focus on hearing what they have to say. You can use the small ask significant ask technique to help your child or teenager get to where you want them to be.  

Maybe your child is having a problem in school which happens to most children, this occurred to my youngest.

 A Child's Math problem quiz

She wasn’t doing very well in math and was really struggling to figure out how to understand math; she was really stumped.

We tried all sorts of different ways I bought her books. I purchased her cheat sheets we tried various methods. She was getting very very frustrated to the point where she was yelling because she was so frustrated with herself.

Instead of myself getting upset and screaming at her I asked her to calm down.  

I said let’s watch some videos on YouTube and see what we can find to help you. She previously didn’t want to go to private tutoring because she was already going to tutoring at school and it still wasn’t helping.

We sat down to watch videos, and it took about an hour of her watching video after video after video. She kept complaining that they were boring and that she wasn’t still getting it.

My small ask of her was to watch one video on YouTube, YouTube wasn’t threatening because she liked watching YouTube. So it is more comfortable for her to say yes.

The big ask is for her to sit there and keep watching videos until she finds the one that makes sense to her. It eventually paid off when she saw the video that made sense to her. It all made sense.  

Once we found the right tool for her to learn from, she immediately understood how to do it, and now she’s an “A” student in math and top of her class.

Watch below the video that helped my daughter learn math.


On a side note,

I learned from NLP that each person learns differently.

You need to figure out how their brain wants to learn and then apply the right tools to teach them.

If your child is struggling in a particular subject in school and nothing seems to be working.

Try alternative methods that may appeal to your child, if you have exhausted every avenue, keep trying.

Some of us learn better, visually, auditory, with our hands, or some of us learn better while dreaming.

So if you got a daydreaming student don’t discourage it, teach them how to use it properly.  

Lucid dreaming is one of the most potent brain tools you can utilize.


Get bigger and bigger tasks done.

All you have to do is ask them to do something simple and then request something harder.

Many of us have called these baby steps, but it’s not. Baby steps do not get you very far. If you’ve ever tried to walk in baby steps, it takes forever.

Just like physics states, something has to be put into motion, you also need to push your child into action.

When you’re an adult, you learn how to motivate yourself into getting things done.

If you don’t teach this kind of self-motivation to your child by doing small things to get more significant things done.

They will not learn those skills to accomplish tough tasks.


 Asking something little of someone can change their mindset and the way they feel about you..

Is your son or daughter not listening to you? Tuning you out?


A small task of your child to do something that they are capable of doing and more likely to say yes to will help you get them on the path of being on the same road as you.

Whatever that small task would be it has to be something that you know that they would be more likely to do and then after they say yes to doing that small favor and it should not be a favor that gets a reward.

It should be a favor that they have to do because you ask them to. Once that task has been completed then you can ask them of something much much more significant.  

They more likely will say no.

Then instead of becoming angry, you will simply ask for a task between the small request and an enormous request they definitely do not want to do.

We’ve all done this is called bartering or compromising.


Although you are using it to persuade your child to do something that they didn’t want to do before with the least resentment.

By using compromises, there is less resentment because they feel that they’ve gained ground.

After a while, you can use the fact that they already did that small and medium favor.

So they’re capable of doing larger tasks. With perseverance, you will eventually get them to do larger jobs without nagging.

Keep Asking!



This does not solve things overnight, and some children just like adults are very stubborn.

But I can test the most stubborn children can be persuaded. You just have to know what motivates them in the right direction.

This kind of falls under the subject of what motivates your child. So if you’re kind of like I don’t know what to ask of my child to get them where I need them to go.

The thing is to start with the things that they already like to do, learn about what your child enjoys doing and how does your child enjoy learning?


 By understanding how they want to receive information and what skills they possess.

You can give them tasks that you know that they’ll enjoy doing or maybe you make the task a way they would enjoy doing.

By teaching how to make a task not so dull, it does set them up to understand how to do long tedious tasks and not be bored.

If you do not teach this kind of control over boredom, the child as an adult will never be able to do mundane tasks without problems.

Which we see today with so many students using Adderall.

Teach your children how to have fun or to be able to dream or wonder while they’re doing these tasks.

I figure out the most complicated problems while doing the most mundane tasks like cleaning the house or taking a shower.


In conclusion, I merely am asking is that you try requesting something insignificant from your child to do and then ask of something more significant for them to do.

Cell phone laying on a bed on leaves with

You may not succeed the first time, keep trying until you do once you do succeed in getting that first small yes and it’s a lot simpler and easier to get that more significant yes.

Once you’ve gotten to this point, it becomes repetitious of continually doing small tasks, big asks, to the point where your child is doing big asks without any small requests.

If your child is not listening to you.

Ask them what would they like to talk about? Learn to listen to something that you don’t agree with, but they may like.

The best way to wake up your child from outside influences is to get involve and interested in what they like.

Take for example I watch music videos with my girls as I know they eventually will see these garbage music video that is out.

I sound like an old man but I feel that rap today his systematically making stupid cool and not making sense is OK.

As we watch they awful videos I point out things that make hem realize its stupid and incoherent.

That looking like an escaped mental patient with tattoos on your face, incoherent lyrics and disgracing the human image is in fact the cool thing to do.

My daughters understand these because we talk about it and discuss these things rather than judge and oppress them.

Common ground can serve as a communication portal.

Commonality gives you the ability to ask small favors to get that more considerable request finished.

Also, don’t ask a small ask with repercussion behind it. You must give them the ability to say no.

By saying no allows you to keep asking for small asks eventually you will wear them down, and they will say, fine, yes. This is where parenting perseverance comes into effect.

You must be more patient than your child and outwit your child by playing the long game.

By starting with the Common Ground theme of something that you know that they like or something both of you love can lead to doing something that they don’t like doing.  

You are using their own Human Nature to better themselves.

Try it see if it works is always work for me and it seems to work for all sorts of various different people when dealing with persuading others to do what they want them to do.

If you already are using a variation of this method then congratulations! I would love to hear your feedback and recommendations.

I highly recommend reading Dr.Kevin Leman’s book


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