Getting your child to listen

A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to ~ Robert Brault getting-your-child-to-listen

Do you find yourself repeating yourself over and over?  Do your children ignore your requests or suffer from selective hearing?  This can be extremely frustrating so here are a few tips for you to use:

Listen to your child

It is important that you are listening to your child before you expect them to listen you. This shows that you value what they say and allows your child to communicate their feelings, which could prevent tantrums from happening in the first place.

Body Language

Body language and tone of voice are very important.  The actual words we use only account for 7% of our communication!  55% is body language and 38% is tone of voice. Speak at the child’s level and try to make sure you have eye contact.  Towering over a child can be intimidating.  Be mindful that some children struggle with eye contact so don’t force it. Use a positive tone of voice but be clear and confident when giving instructions.

Use clear instructions

Make sure instructions are short and to the point.  Make sure your instructions are not questions, i.e. “Can you pick up your toys?”  Instead make them directive, i.e. “Pick up your toys now please”.

Use the “When-Then” technique

Keep stating the comment and do not enter into any negotiation.  This keeps you calm and in control of the situation. (“When you have done your homework, then you can watch TV”.)

Offer choices

Try to offer a choice to get things done.  For example, “Do you want to walk to school or skip to school?”  Make sure you  limit the choices –so that you stay in control.

“I” Statements

Try not to blame (“You always leave a mess in the kitchen”) and use “I” statements where possible (“I feel upset when I see the kitchen in such a mess and I would like everyone to clear up their things after using them”).  Children switch off when you are nagging or blaming, whereas “I” statements allow you to communicate what you want or need without blame.

Extra Ideas

Don’t shout from another room, talk to your child face to face. Praise at the first sign of your child moving to the task.  Even though they might not have done it, by pre-empting them it could make them complete the task.