I know it can’t just be my house, but getting your child to listen to what your saying can be frustrating. This is why I have a podcast….so i can pretend that at least someone is listening to me.
When children are really young, it just seems like they are never listening. We offered some tips in Episode 168 if listening is a topic of interest.
It turns out if you have a toddler (2-3 years old), it’s said they only respond 50% of the time…..
There are a few suggestions for kids this age, primarily:
lowering your expectations as they are still learning about the world. They simply don’t know as many words either.
so for that, use a small amount of words
Let them know what they can do instead of always saying no – “you can hold this” rather than “You can’t hold that”
It’s when the child is at 3-4 that things get more interesting. These tips can be used at this age but also work as children get older. It takes a lot of practice by us for us (and them) to get it right.
1) The reality it that is actually takes longer for kids to respond than adults. Give them an additional 5-7 seconds to respond. This is difficult as we typically want them to respond right away. Their brain sometimes takes a little longer to process things.
2) Use less words – just like the toddler, less words mean less processing: brush teeth, upstairs. You don’t need long sentences to explain what needs to be done.
3) Ask questions – get them interacting by asking questions? What is it that you do after you put on your pajamas? Sometimes this make it like a game.
4) Offering them choices – this is a big one. An example may be, do you want to run up the stairs like a cheetah or a turtle? You are fine with either answer but they get to choose. We had a lot of turtle nights walking up our stairs. I should have chose 2 different fast animals.
5) Display or show the behavior – So when you say “pick up your clothes” you are helping them pick up their clothes and showing them how it’s done. Children learn by watching and doing. So they made need instructions for the first 478 times so you’ll need to show them over and over.
Let’s face it, listening is a problem everyone faces. As kids grow older, even if they are “good” listeners, their attention goes elsewhere. They begin to focus on different things. But here is the reality:
If you have to yell in order to get your kids to do something, it means you have taught them that it’s only when you yell do they need to do it. So we have to take responsibility as parents and learn the proper ways to communicate to them. Yelling certainly isn’t the answer.
Again so if you are yelling it’s not your child’s fault, it’s yours.