Effective parenting tool #1 - 3 steps
When trying to get small people to do something in our house a three stage process is followed.
#1 Ask - Politely
#2 Tell - Firmly
#3 Count - Downwards so they can tell when the end is coming.
It's amazing how much less shouting and general angst has happened in our house since that process was introduced. Also we don't often get to 1, but if we do the negative result is generally something simple like one less song at bedtime for that child, or when I'm particularly cranky, no kids tv in the afternoon. We don't have to bring out the big guns.....yet!
Of course there are times when I forget the process and go straight from Ask to Yell, but it happens way less often than it used to.
NB. This also doubles as a teaching exercise: the 3 year old can count down from 10 to 1.