5 Tips to get your child to listen to you

October 4, 2015

child listeningOne of the biggest frustrations as parent is when our children just don’t listen to us and do as we say. We can find ourselves repeating the same request over and over again, getting more wound up each time and then finally we may lose our temper and start shouting and over-reacting (causing us to feel bad about it later on when we’ve calmed down). So what can you do to get your child to listen to you and avoid this scenario?

1. Gain some perspective on the situation. Before you start to speak put yourself in their shoes for a moment. It’s all too easy to see our perspective on the situation. We want something done, we want it done now and it’s the most important thing for us right now. Seeing another’s perspective is a vital component in gaining cooperation. Could your request actually wait just 5 more minutes while they finish their game? Their motivation to finish the game is going to be far higher than their motivation to pick their shoes up off the hall floor. Is it worth battling over 5 minutes?

2. Make your presence known. If you want to be heard, it helps to be seen and your presence acknowledged. How many times have you shouted an instruction from another room, thought you’d be heard and then got more and more worked up when your kids haven’t done what you’ve asked? The most effective way to know whether someone is listening to you is for you to get right in front of them or to touch them in some way like a tap on the shoulder or touching an arm before you start to speak.

3. Ditch the repeat button. The more you repeat instructions and requests, the more you are conditioning your child that they will always be asked repeatedly before they have to take action. If you are always asking them 5 times before they get their homework done, they will learn that they can get away with ignoring the first 4 requests as you will always repeat yourself. Set limits and consequences for them not listening to you on the first request and retrain them that you will only ask once. 

4. Choose your message carefully. Is what you are about to say really important? Does it really matter? Be selective with what you are communicating to your child. Parents very often are guilty of over communicating with their children. Sometimes less is definitely more. Also remember that some things don’t have to be communicated with words – actions can often speak a lot louder. There’s also a lot to be said about raising the mood when communicating and humour can be a very disarming way to communicate something mundane and boring to your child and can be a welcome break from nagging. 

5. Listen to your child. Monkey see, monkey do – if you demonstrate that you are listening to your child, it is far more likely that they will start to listen to you more. We can tell them all we like that they have to listen to us, but actually seeing us listen to them is way more powerful. At the same time it allows us to take a far greater interest in what’s going on for them.

Have a read of my blog ‘The Art of Listening’ for more tips.



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This post was written by Beth Parmar