Getting Your Kids To Listen To You!
(A version of this post originally aired as a guest post I wrote for TheIdeaRoom.net)
Do you have a child who doesn't listen and has to be reminded numerous times before they will do what they're asked? Of course, we all do! Every once in a while all of our children will tune us out.
When everything seems to be going in one ear and out the other, here are 6 tips for getting your words to stick.
1. Don't start talking until you have your child's attention.
Get down on their level opposed to hovering above them, expect distractions to be turned off or paused, be sure you are making eye contact, and then talk. It is also okay to ask for their attention. "Please look
2. Get to the point.
As parents we tend to use too many words and explain too much when we are talking to our children. All the extra words give our children time to tune us out. Keep it short, simple and to the point.
3. Don't repeat yourself
The first thing most of us do when our children don't listen, is to repeat ourselves. And then repeat ourselves again, and again. (Followed by telling our children we are tired of sounding like a broken record :)) Don't! Saying things over and over teaches our children they don't have to listen because they know we will say it again and they can listen another time. Stop repeating yourself and just say things one time. If they don't listen the first time, make sure you had their attention to begin with. If you feel you had their attention and they still didn't listen, then let the consequences follow. This will take some practice for us, and for our children. It is hard at first to not repeat ourselves.
4. Be Reasonable.
Put yourself in your child's shoes for a minute. Imagine if we were right in the middle of doing something important to us, or doing something we love. And all of a sudden someone came in and demanded that we immediately get up and do what they say. How would we feel? We wouldn't want to listen, we would be frustrated and irritated! It isn't any different with our children. When a child is involved in something else, be considerate with the requests. Sure there will be times when we need immediate action, but for the most part, we can think ahead and cushion our requests. Think of it as warning them about what it coming up. It gives them time to finish up what they are doing and prepare for what is next.
5. Uphold consequences
When children don't listen, we need to uphold the consequences. If we don't, then it sends our children the message that is is okay to ignore us because we won't follow through anyway. We can set general consequences that apply to not listening. Such as "If you don't listen the first time, you have to go to your room. We can set consequences that are tied to the request itself. "If you want to play outside, please finish your homework." And/or we can let the natural consequences take their course. Such as when a child doesn't get their shoes on and get in the car when asked, then they don't get to go. The key is to be clear with the consequences before hand and to make sure we follow through. Even if they come to you and say they didn't hear you. Don't back down. Just invite them to do better next time.
6. Establish Schedules
Want to save yourself the stress of constantly reminding your kids what to do before they go to bed? Create a schedule or routine and your kids wont have to be told what they need to do because they will already know. Why, because you do the same thing every night. These routines can be established for everything. Getting ready for school, what to do after school, household chores, etc... I know for our daughter, she does better when the schedule is written down. So we write down the order of what needs to be done and she refers to it when needed. Instead of constantly nagging her, I just reminder her to check her schedule.
A few simple changes to the way we talk to, and handle our children, and you should see huge improvements in their listening skills. Just remember that along with the above suggestions, we have to be good examples. When they talk to us we need to put away our distractions and listen with full intent. Children will do what we do, before they do what we say, so set a good example and they will learn from the best!
Do you ever find it hard to listen to your kids?
Do you have a chronic non-listener? How do you get through to them?