Since we are not handed a magical how-to-book when we bring our children home from the hospital, all we really have to go by is what we were taught in our childhood homes. I believe my parents did a lot more right than wrong, but there were a few things I believe I have improved upon.
Yelling. My mom was a yeller. My brother, sister and I loved to fling the couch pillows all over the living room floor. Squeals of laughter tended to soon turn into yelling at each other, as we tried to navigate the 'bridge' over the hot lave. Mom would enter the room calm. At first, she would tell us to quite down and clean up. In typical kid fashion, we ignored her. To gain our attention she began to yell at us and eventually we were sent to our rooms, while she cleaned up.
Getting down to their eye level and speaking clearly. The hot lava game is a favorite with my kids as well and sometimes the kids get out of control. I come into the room same as my mom, but I walk over to the kids and get down on my knees. I look directly at them and firmly tell them what my expectations are and what the consequence to not listening will be. This may take a time or two, but I never lose my cool and they clean up their mess.
You are grounded. Growing up we were grounded from television, to our rooms, to our yard-you name it and we've been grounded from it. My parents would ground us for a week or more at a time. We were usually ungrounded within a day, because we knew if we whined enough they would give in.
Mean what you say. As a mom, I get the immediate result I can get from uttering the words, 'you are grounded.' The truth is, we knew we could press our mom until she would cave. I believe grounding is a good tool, but how I changed it up is with realistic time frames. If I warn my six year old he will be grounded from his Wii for the rest of the night, I know I can follow through. He learns mom means what she says, so next time I might say two days and he believes me.