Friday, January 28, 2022

7 Strategies to Get Your Kids to Listen

There is nothing more frustrating than a child who will not listen. It can be challenging to motivate and teach kids who refuse to cooperate, but it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of strategies you as a parent can use when you want to get your kids to listen.

How to get your kids to listen

1. Stop, look, and listen

First, take a moment to make sure there isn’t anything distracting your child from the conversation you are trying to have. Ask him or her to stop what they are doing and look at you. Make eye contact and then ask them a simple question that requires a yes or no answer. If the answer is no, explain why it’s important for them to listen without being distracted. Don’t argue — just calmly state why it helps if they do what you’ve asked immediately. This will help prevent power struggles where both of you get increasingly frustrated. You can come back to other questions once their initial request has been completed successfully!

2. Allow only one person to talk at a time

It feels rude when someone interrupts you, and it’s no different for your children. Make sure to give them your full attention when they speak by letting other people in the room know that only one person can talk at a time. This will ensure that everyone gets heard and avoids confusion or miscommunication between you all!

A young boy talks while the rest of the family listens while sitting at the table for breakfast.
When only one person gets to talk at a time, everyone has a chance to be heard. (Image: Sarayuth Punnasuriyaporn via Dreamstime)

3. Ask questions

It’s best not to simply tell your child what he or she needs to do. Instead, ask them what they think should be done in certain situations or how they would solve particular problems. You might hear some great advice from kids this way! Ask open-ended questions that invite dialogue rather than short responses so that they are more likely to answer without being prompted. Try asking: “What do you think we should do…?” or “What do you think would be a good idea…?”

4. Offer choices

When you want kids to listen, it can be helpful to offer them a choice between two options rather than telling them what they have to do. For example, when you are trying to pick out an outfit in the morning, ask your child if they would like to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt today. You also might present two different activities when it’s time for homework or chores so that they feel like they get some control over their lives (instead of feeling dictated). Offering choices is not really about giving them freedom. In fact, choices give children freedom within boundaries.

5. Pay attention to body language and tone

Your tone and body language communicate just as much (if not more!) than actual words. Make sure to speak clearly and slowly, and also make eye contact so your child understands you are speaking directly to him or her. Even if you are actually trying to avoid a confrontation, it can be helpful to set good examples for children by staying calm when they are angry or upset.

Make sure to speak clearly and slowly, and also make eye contact to get your kids to listen.
Make sure to speak clearly and slowly, and also make eye contact. (Image: Anna Sungatulina via Dreamstime)

6. Don’t interrupt

When kids are talking, many parents tend to interrupt even though the child hasn’t yet finished his sentence! This tends to happen because adults think of what they want to say next instead of focusing on what is being said at the moment. Try not to interrupt your children, but if you need to correct them, then do so respectfully without yelling or name-calling. This will help make sure that all of your messages get through to them!

7. Be consistent and don’t give up

It can be frustrating when children do not listen the first time, but it’s important for parents to remain calm and consistent when disciplining their kids. It’s best to calmly repeat instructions while maintaining some level of expectations rather than giving up on the situation or letting the child get away with bad behavior. Don’t give in to tantrums either. Just give children some space so that they don’t feel like you are pressuring them into anything. If necessary, remove them from a stressful situation so they can calm down. Once all parties have calmed down, you can talk about what happened and find solutions that work for everyone involved.

All kids struggle with listening sometimes, but by following these steps you can help your children improve their listening skills!

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Raven Montmorency
Raven Montmorency is a pen name used for a writer based in India. She has been writing with her main focus on Lifestyle and human rights issues around the world.
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