Children are notorious for not listening and for many parents, this can be a frustrating and difficult process to deal with, however, fear not - there are ways to get your children to listen, so you have more peace in your life.
In this article we will discuss effective techniques that you can use to speak with your child/children so they actually listen and take onboard what they are being told.
Keep it short and simple
Kids have a short attention span and it is difficult for them to concentrate when you talk in long, drawn out sentences.
Keep instructions clear and concise so that your child can understand what they need to do straightaway.
Focus their attention by asking questions about what they are doing or giving them directions.
If your child is constantly looking at his phone while getting ready for school, ask him how much he likes playing with it rather than snapping angrily and demanding that he stop immediately.
Stay calm when speaking to your child - no matter how much you are trying not to, it is easy for parents to lose their cool when they aren’t getting the desired response from their kids.
The more agitated you get with them, the less likely they will listen or pay attention in future encounters.
Be patient and give your children time to process what you have said.
If you feel yourself losing patience quickly while talking with your little one, take a deep breath and count backwards from ten before asking again if he has understood what was being told to him/her by repeating instructions slowly. Be calm even though you're feeling frustrated!
Acknowledge their point of view
Your child might be feeling disappointed or sad, and having these feelings is okay. When you acknowledge their point of view while also sticking to your position on the topic at hand, it shows them that they are being heard which makes them more likely to cooperate with what you have asked for.
Empathise when needed: If there’s a reason your child isn’t doing what they have been told - maybe they don't want to go outside in the rain or can’t find their shoes.
By empathising with their feelings and not just what they haven’t done, it will help you find a solution that works for both of you.
Be a role model
Most children look up to their parents and want to be like them. When they see that you do what is right, it makes a big impact on how they behave as well.
Give your child plenty of positive attention - your little one needs love and affection just as much as adults do – never forget that!
Be firm but fair - being too harsh with your children can have a negative impact on how they view you.
Always try to follow through what you say so that there is no confusion about the consequences of their actions or behaviour.
Give one instruction at a time
Giving too much information at once can overwhelm your child and make it difficult for them to focus on what they are being told.
Just like learning how to walk, speaking with children takes time and patience! Keep practicing till you see results
Be honest about what is being asked of them – if they do not understand why they need to complete an activity then let them know that as well.
Ensure you have all their attention
There is nothing more frustrating for a child than being told to get ready when they are in the middle of something else.
As a consequence, communication flows much more smoothly if you make sure you have their FULL attention when giving them instructions, ie. don't just shout at them from another room...
Be clear about your expectations. Let them know what behaviour/result you expect from them - children respond much better if they know exactly what’s expected of them and how much time it will take.
Explain the reason and give proper details
Many parents give instructions to their children without explaining why it is important or what will happen if they don’t carry out the task.
Taking the time and effort to explain these details makes a big impact on how well your child will respond when asked by you!
Be patient with young kids - even though it might be difficult, remember that communication isn't always easy for them either.
They need just as much attention and love from their parents as adults do so don't forget this while parenting!!
Give them time to process information
When you ask your child to do something, they might need a little bit of time to process what is being asked of them.
If possible allow for this step before telling them again or trying to move onto the next command.
The more agitated you get with your kids, the less likely they will listen in future encounters. Counting back from ten and taking a deep breath can help calm both yourself AND them down!
Acknowledge their point of view even if it's different than yours - it shows them that they are being heard which makes them more willing to cooperate with what you have said/asked for.
Set clear expectations and rules
When you set rules for your child, it gives the message that this is what they are expected to do. If there’s a reason why they aren't doing something then encourage them to find out more about their actions so they can understand!
Be consistent with everything you ask of your children - if one day it's okay for them not to clean up after themselves and another day it's not, this would be spectacularly confusing for them.
Say it gently but firmly
It’s important to stay firm when you say something, but don't be too harsh or they will shut down! Let your child know that it's okay if things aren’t perfect and ask them for their help.
Be mindful of your child's age - depending on how old your child is, the way you communicate with them needs to be adapted as well.
Young children might need more time than older kids so make sure patience remains a key factor in all interactions
Avoid negative commands
There are many ways parents unintentionally communicate with their children in a negative way. Saying "don't do this" or "shut up" might seem like an easy solution but oftentimes it is more effective to ask them instead of telling them what NOT to do.
Remember that communication isn’t just for adults - if your child hears you say something, they WILL be repeating this - it can be particularly challenging when dealing with older kids who have begun speaking back, so make sure you think about how your words will affect them before saying anything.
Ask your child to repeat your directions aloud
If they are unable to do this, it's likely because you haven’t made yourself clear enough and need to take another approach.
This works particularly well with children who are easily distracted.
Just bear in mind, it's not always simple for kids to repeat what they've been told, so don't be upset if they struggle; wait patiently until they're completely sure of what has been asked of them. (Even if it means going over it with them a few times before they get it).
Talk about things they find interesting
Whether it's talking about their favorite subject at school or the latest game they’ve been playing, kids will be more willing to listen if you talk about things which interest them.
Avoid asking yes/no questions
This forces children into either just saying "yes" or "no", and oftentimes this feels like they are being forced to answer before giving it enough thought - so try avoiding these kinds of short responses!
Be specific with your requests - if it is too vague, your child won't know what you're expecting of them.
Get as precise as possible and let them know what exactly it is that you want from them!
Encourage your child to ask for help when needed
This will help build their independence which can be very positive in the long run!! If one day they do need assistance with something small like tying up their shoelaces or cleaning up after themselves, this will feel far less intimidating by letting them take control over some things now.
Try using modeling rather than direct commands
For example say "that looks hard" instead of saying "can you please move that chair?" This way children might find it easier to understand how its done , and might be more likely to do it themselves.
Try not to interrupt them
Children are creative and enjoy weaving events into a complex narrative; if you take a few minutes out of your hectic day to listen to them without being interrupted, they will pay attention to what you have to say in the same way.
They will, however, lose interest if you keep diverting your attention away from them and appear uninterested.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
No matter how many rules you have, there will be times when your child breaks them.
Try not to get upset - if they’re constantly being told off for the same things over and over again, it can become a massive drag on their morale which might cause them to give up entirely!
You have rules in place for a reason, and yes - of course, both you and your child should follow them. However, if you overreact to every little thing, your child will eventually tune out and believe that everything they do will be accompanied by a "long talk".
When your child makes a mistake, what if you asked inquiry-based questions like ‘Why did you find homework difficult?’ or ‘How could you have done this differently’ instead?
When you explain it like this, it not only allows for a more honest conversation, but it also encourages your kid to consider the problem and come up with a solution.
They tend to follow your rules once they understand them from their own perspective.
Give them choices
Children are smart - if given options, they will be more likely to listen. This helps because it feels like the child has some control over what is happening, but still keeps things in their place!
When instructing or requesting them to do something, rather than telling them they can't have what you want if they don't do it, offer them a choice.
This gives them a feeling of entitlement, establishes a sense of power over their own lives, and helps them make decisions.
Offer positive reinforcement
Not only do rewards and praise motivate children to listen but they also help them see your perspective.
If we offer positive reinforcement for good behavior, children are more likely to want the attention again, meaning it is a great way of encouraging them.
When you listen to your child, give them praise, such as "great job," offer basic incentives like 15 minutes of extra television time or unique snacks from time to time.
Remember to use rewards sparingly so that you can continue to encourage the particular sort of behavior you want whilst avoiding making them associate every event with a reward.
Don’t repeat yourself
This is possibly THE most frustrating thing for not only children but also parents!
It can feel like every single thing that needs to get done, you have to tell them multiple times - yet it still doesn't get done.
If your child isn’t listening when they are told something once, what is it that makes you think they'll listen if you repeat yourself?
Being persistent in this way will just serve as a distraction and cause more arguments or tantrums which can be stressful on both of you.
People who don't feel listened to tend to withdraw from others so try really hard not to resort to repeating yourself because it doesn't usually end well.
Tell your child what to do instead of what not to do
Whenever you are giving instructions or a list of things to do, it is best to tell them what they should be doing instead of telling them what not to do.
When we say "Don't touch that," the child's mind will hear :"Touch this." When children hear negative words like 'don’t' or 'stop', they automatically try and find out why - otherwise, how will they make sense of it ?!
This can cause misbehavior in some cases too because when something has been asked not to be done, it makes people want to break their rules even more so than before.
Acknowledge when your child puts in the effort
It is important to understand that children really do want to listen. They look up to their parents and often try very hard, but need constant reassurance in order for them to continue listening.
When your child does something good or in the way you requested it - let them know!
When they make an effort, reward them with praise like ‘good job’ which will motivate your kid even more than tangible rewards like money + won't cost anything at all either!
This positive reinforcement helps kids see why they should keep trying when things get tough because they don't want to disappoint you by not living up to expectations.
It also feels great for everyone involved when we acknowledge someone else's efforts instead of just focusing on mistakes so remember this next time you are working with your child.
Use your child’s name
This is another great way of getting your child to listen.
When you call them by their name, it makes children feel important and will help them focus on the conversation at hand rather than any distractions around them.
If they are preoccupied with something else in the room or outside - they won't be able to hear what you need from them because their mind will automatically go elsewhere when their name is called!
Do not raise your voice or yell
You've probably seen teachers attempting to shout amid the din of their classes, but has a tendency to backfire.
It's ineffective in a home setting as well, and when your child is irritated and shouting, there's no use screaming back or raising your voice louder than theirs.
If they're still yelling after you've told them to be quiet or assured them that you'll talk with them when they've calmed down, there's no point in trying to yell back or raise your voice even further; either wait till they're done screaming and speak softly or inform them that you'll speak with them when they've cooled off.
It can feel like you are talking to a brick wall when your child doesn't listen, but it's important not to nag because that won’t get them to listen either.
Nagging is basically repeating yourself over and over again in an annoying way until the other person listens - so why would they want to do something if all their parents want is for them to shut up?
Phrases such as ‘Please stop asking me!’ or 'Just go away' will tell anyone who has asked anything of you multiple times that they're being ignored which makes people feel like they're worthless + not worth listening to.
It is important that we do what we ask of others as well as expect it from them too, so try and remember this next time you feel the need to nag or repeat yourself over something trivial.
Show acceptance and understanding
It is important that we show our children that we understand and accept them for who they are.
If you express yourself in a way that shows your child that their choices or actions do not fit with how you would like them to be, it will only add unnecessary pressure on them so try talking things through rather than reprimanding them when they step out of line.
This doesn’t mean letting kids get away with everything, though; it just means showing empathy + support when something isn't right while still making clear what behavior needs to change moving forward - don't forget about consistency but also remember not to punish too severely either!
Tell, don’t ask
If your child has been disregarding your instructions lately, one of the most common mistakes made while giving commands is to ask rather than tell.
When you ask a child who consistently refuses your orders to do anything, it implies they think they have a choice in whether or not to comply - if you merely inform them, though, it doesn't give them an option.
Respect their independence
It is important to respect your child's independence - being the parent or guardian of a teen, you will know that they do not like orders!
‘Stop it,'’ ‘don't do that,' and other phrases like these are authoritarian parenting examples, which allow resistance and disobedience As adolescents swagger with more confidence, they become increasingly independent.
They frequently order them about, making them feel as if their freedom is being taken away.
To avoid power conflicts, back-talking, and defiance, make sure they understand why you requested them to perform something and attempt to respect their sense of freedom.
Set boundaries and consequences
Kids are not great at understanding yet what they can do and cannot.
At the point when children don’t see boundaries, it makes them feel powerless or frightened to know where their freedoms begin + end because nobody likes being out of control.
For this reason, kids need clear explanations about why there are rules in place - if you explain something with a positive tone rather than as an order (i.e., ‘It is important that we wash our hands before eating so we don't get sick!') you will find your child much more willing to comply without any complaints later on too!
When setting up consequences for breaking those rules make sure they understand these as well; sometimes parents forget how young and impressionable their children are so do not act surprised when they take their rules seriously.
Let them take the lead
If you guide your child into something without giving them the opportunity to explore it themselves, then they will never learn how to do it on their own.
This is why letting kids take control of things like what they wear or eat can lead to a lot less bickering about clothing choices and picky eating habits - if you avoid offering too many options for food at home, though, make sure there are some that everyone enjoys as well!
When our children have an active role in life decisions we give them more confidence + make them feel valued which inspires better self-esteem...
Shower Them with Love and more love
A child who is constantly praised and shown how much they are loved by their parents or guardians will learn to treasure themselves more.
They need encouragement, kind words of affirmation, + an appreciation for the things that matter most - if you give them love, what else could a young person possibly want?
For this reason alone it is not just okay but also recommended to shower your kids with all the positive attention whenever possible!
Some people might think it's embarrassing when a toddler asks for praise in public though so keep this between close friends and family too...
Achieving successful parenting is often as simple as following these guidelines.
Remember, the most important thing you can do for your child is to be their role model and show them how calmness under pressure will lead to success in any situation they find themselves in throughout life. I
We hope it brings some peace of mind during those tough moments when we're all feeling less than perfect parents.