Tips to Help your Child Become a Better Listener
19th June 2015
Getting a child to listen to you can be one of the hardest tasks of parenthood. You often find that you’re repeating yourself over and over and over again, until there comes a point where you have to threaten punishment, or actually hand out a punishment, in order to make your child sit up and listen. However, what you may not realise is this isn’t doing yourself – or your child – any favours, as they know they can get away with ignoring you until the last moment, before they are punished.
If you’re finding it’s becoming a constant battle trying to make your child listen, then have a read through some of our suggestions and give some of them a go!
In order to make your child listen to you, you have to set a good example and listen to your child. By stopping whatever it is you are doing and listening to them carefully, this shows that you respect them and things are less likely to end in a tantrum where your child shouts, cries or whines, plus you’re more likely to get results when you need your child to listen to you.
Shouting to your child from across the room is not going to make them listen; you need to be in close proximity to them so they can read your body language and see your face. Come down to their level so you can make eye contact and make physical contact with them too – either by lightly touching their arm or holding their hands. Once they are fully engaged, you can begin to talk to them.
Think about tone
Choosing the right words and tone can have a huge impact on getting on your child to listen to you. Try and use an upbeat and confident tone when asking them to do something first time round, and then change to a firmer, lower tone for disapproval if you have to ask them anymore times.
The best approach that often works is to ask once nicely, if this is ignored ask again firmly, and if this is ignored then take action.
Be clear and concise
If you speak too much and make your sentences too long, your child is highly likely to switch off and not pay any attention. Keep your requests short and simple such as “It’s 7 o’clock. Bedtime!” This way, there is no confusion about what you want them to do and your child won’t get lost amongst your words.
For many children, if you ask them a question then the default answer is likely to be “no!”, such as “can you pick your toys up please?” To avoid finding yourself in this situation, try making statements like “I can still see toys on the floor!”. You could also try offering your child choices such as “do you want to do your homework before dinner or after dinner?”. This includes them far more than simply telling them what to do, but obviously there will be times when giving them options isn’t possible.
You may think this applies more to babies but if you have a good routine that works well, then your child will know what to expect. Therefore, you hopefully won’t spend the majority of your time nagging at them to do things like brush their teeth and pack their bag etc. because they will already know this is what they have to do.
So, now you have a few ideas to help get your child to listen to you, you can go ahead and try some of them out! It’s also very important not to just focus on your child’s negative behaviour but also praise their good behaviour when they do listen to you first time round. This positive reinforcement will help them learn and understand how they should listen to you – so the next time it should be much easier!