In the Waldorf early childhood classroom, the teacher reminds us that we should aspire to keep our children in their "dreamlike" state as long as possible. This includes speaking to them pictoriallly...not to mention, they think in that way and so they are more willing to respond when you speak to them pictorially.
For instance, if you are trying to get out the door and your child is dawdling (because that ball of fluff on the floor has caught her attention), you could say, "Little rabbits must hop, hop, hop to school!" You will likely get a much quicker response to put on shoes and run out the door than if you were to scream, "Hurry up! We have to go!!!"
I learned of speaking pictorially a few weekends ago in my WISC class. And all week long after I found myself blurting out commands just because it comes out easier and if we are in a rush...well...I'm hardly able to think "in pictures". But then would find myself thinking right afterwards, "Oh man, what could I have said differently to put it pictorially?"
Finally one morning I had the chance. D was not moving quickly enough for me and I kept reminding her to "put on your shoes", "get your jacket", "come on...let's go" And then I said, "pitter patter go your feet." And literally, I saw her face light up! "Now you're speaking my language mom" is what I saw cross her face. And she responded while stomping her feet hard and strong on the floor, "PITTER! PATTER! go my feet!" As she walked very heavily towards her door to gather her things.
It WORKS! I tell you, it works.
The other night it was D's bedtime. Dad was telling her to go to bed. I was going upstairs to do something (I can't recall what) and D announced, she wanted to join me. No, that was not an option. She needs to go to bed. She was about to throw a fit when I very gently said, "D, you cannot join me. Tired little bears need to go to bed so they can rest up for a day of fun tomorrow." She immediately calmed down and there was not argument about going to bed.
It takes a while to think pictorially, but if you have a few animals in your head it gets easier. Plus, for me, being cognizant of what and how I am trying to communicate helps me to remain calm so that my delivery is also calm.