How do you get your child to listen?

How can you get your child to focus and listen when you need them to? What are some ways to teach them the importance of listening?

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35  Answers

216 45

Dont shout, stand over them or intimidate. Use language that is simply to understand and straight to the point. Explain why you need them to listen eg if you do touch that it will burn you, or if you dont hold my hand the car might hit you. That way you are teaching them at the same time. Understand if they are tired and having trouble concentrating. Keep it quick and avoid long lectures or they will play up more. Be patient and pay attention to the approach that seems to work and what doesn't. When you find an approach that works, be consistent.

69 38

spot on their...

0 0

I have a pretty willful child and she requires a different approach depending on what mood she is in but I think you ultimately have to be consistent about one thing - if you say you are or are not going to do something then stick to it i.e. "if you don't stop we are going home right now" need to be ready to drop everything and go home. It sucks when this happens in the middle of the weekly grocery trip when you are by yourself with the kids but you need to let them know that the buck will always stop with you. As another mom mentioned it will take different approaches for different children and some are NOT easy but as long as they know you will make good on your "threats" then you will have an Ace up your sleeve.

5 10

As the parent of 5 that're now adults plus a few stepchildren that're also grown, I know how difficult it can be with one or more independent children that will not listen when you want and/or need them to. I have two suggestions that I used for all my now adult kids and am reusuing these two things now that I'm raising a grandchild: 1. Please, ALWAYS keep this in a front corner of your mind: YOUR CHILD IS AN EXPLORER. This world is a new and wonderous place full of exciting, soothing and sometimes dangerous things that your child is compelled to explore. Enjoy this amazing place with them, through their eyes as much and as often as you can. Just remembering that they are an explorer will help you to ease up sometimes. 2. When you need your little child to listen to you, take their hands and place the palm of their hands on the cheeks of their face and hold your hands on theirs firmly enough so that they don't have the option of turning their face away from you. Then proceed to tell them what you need to as quickly and simply as possible. My 2 1/2 year old grandson is so used to his hands being placed on his cheeks (yes, he is independent and willful), he'll actually put them on his face unaided when he knows I need him to listen to me for a sec.

1 0

thank u so much. Will d try that approach because my son is so strong -willed , that my lungs are tired at the end of each day. Experience is the best teacher

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0 13

Simple: The book: How to Talk to Your Child so He Will Listen and How to Listen so Your Child Will Talk by Adele Farber. This book changed my relationship with my 3 kids and my four year old stopped throwing tantrums and screaming! Everyone I talk to about it agrees, it is a life saver book all moms must have. Its in the library as well as the book store.

15 18

Thanks I'm going to get this book and read. I'm to that point I can't handle anymore, she is 3.5 will be 4 on the 25th and is so different then my older two. But thanks I'll give this a try.

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13 7

Since every child is so different, it is hard to comment specifically. For my son (2 yrs old), I try to ensure he looks directly at me. I speak slowly and directly. "We are not going to play until we finish eating our dinner. if you want to play, I need you to take x more bites" for example. I also try very hard to explain why. "We share our toys because it is nice. We will have more friends if we are nice to friends. if we are mean to our friends and refuse to share....they won't be our friends anymore." However, when he is in a defiant mood....this can prove significantly more challenging. During those times, I simply advise him that I can't help him until he calms down and acts like a big boy and I walk away.

4 9

what about a kid that avoids eye contact? My seven year old daughtor cant keep her eyes focused on me while im talking to her. i have to stop and say look at me then start where i left off. any ideas? It seems like a diversion tactic to me

4 9

thanks, ill try that

50 32

1. Make sure kids have enough sleep--so many kids are overtired, and tired kids don't listen or respond as well to the things we try to teach them.
2. Then, as soon as they can walk/talk/respond to your requests, teach them to acknowledge your request. When you ask them to come here, or to pick up their jacket/book/whatever, teach them to respectfully/cheerfully say "Yes, Mommy." It forms a habit they keep a long time. They learn sooo much so young--12-18 months is not too soon to start this. If you wait till they are 2 or 3 (stubborn age) it can be much more difficult.
3. Make your requests one time, then act. Be consistent on this, and they will learn that you mean what you say, and you say what you mean. If you repeat your requests 2/3/4... times, and then act, the kids will know how long they can wait before they really have to respond.

0 16

I am still learning how to get my 3 year old to listen because he is so independent and wants to do things his way at all times.

15 18

I hear ya there, my daughter will be 4 on the 25th and it is a battle. She is indenpent and she will do it her way or not at all, then she throws a fit.

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1 8

I usually use "First....then..." statements which tends to stop any type of tantrum before it starts. For example, "First we are going to pick the toys up off of the floor, then we can go outside and you can ride your bike." By using these statements they understand that we all need to complete undesirable tasks so we can have time for the fun activities. I also try to involve my kids as much as possible in whatever task I am doing so they are less likely to fight between themselves, they are excited to help, and they listen to learn how to do a particular chore. My 3 & 5 y/o children help put laundry soap n the washer, put clothes in/out of the dryer, put food in the grocery cart, dishes in the dishwasher, pick up sticks in the yard, etc.

37 4

I am a single parent and work 2 jobs my daughter is 4. I am way to busy to play psychologist with my child so we have the "I'm only saying it once "rule which has been reinforced since she came into this world which means I had to follow through with any threat that I made and or make to her. So I agree with Erin Singla, definitley an ace up the sleeve!!

28 9

I often say 'Look at my nose' as it encourages them to look at and concentrate on your face, whilst you try and communicate to them... I am also a firm believer in really paying attention to what they are trying to say to you, If you pay them the respect they deserve as little people (positive role modelling), they should follow suit and listen to you. Hope this helps.

0 0

Hands down I think the most effective way that I have gotten my daughters to listen is to listen to them. We had a lot of trouble with my oldest daughter not listening... So much, in fact, that we started to wonder if she was autistic because it seemed like sometimes she seemed so in her own world that she seemed deaf. We tried everything we could think of to get her attention and she wouldn't even seem to notice that we were talking. Then I started doing an active listening technique that I have learned in various settings in my life. The listener doesn't say anything as the speaker is talking. Then, we it appears that the speaker is finished, the listener asked, "Are you finished?". If they are, then listener repeats back everything they have heard and says, "Is that right?" or "Did I understand you completely?". I tried this with my daughter and suddenly everything changed. This often meant riding out a big cry until she was ready to talk, but once her feelings were out, she could tell me what was wrong. If I proved to her that she had been heard, then I would say, "Can I talk now?", and she always would say, "yes". Everytime she listened beautifully and was able to repeat back what I said (she just turned four and I started this at 3.5). Soon after this started, her sassy times started to diminish as if she felt understood and didn't need to freak out about whether she could wear her favorite filthy shirt to school again, and I just made sure to really listen- particularly when she was upset. After about two weeks of this, the seemingly deaf behavior completely disappeared. If she seems a little far away now and hasn't answered on the first try, I say, "If you hear me say, 'okay'". She does it every time. She is suddenly very helpful around the house, too, and always a big help getting her little sister out the door. Reminds me of me, really. The only thing I want when I'm upset is to feel heard, too.

2 0

That is awesome advice! But what do you do when you cannot get your child to talk to you? When my almost 5 yr old gets upset, throws tantrums, etc. I want to get to the root of what is bothering her and will ask questions. I tell her that I need to know what is wrong in order to help her (or what it is she is thinking or feeling). But it is so hard to pull words out of her to find out the source of her frustrations! Any ideas? Anyone?

7 26

I have one tip, look up Parenting with Love and Logic!! Best tips I have ever found, fun, easy and really work!!!

11 40

I agree with Lin, Children usu. hear things that benefit them the first time. ( i.e. If you stop I'll give you a cookie) I get down on my knees, tell my son, "give me your eyes" and tell him what i need him to do. If he doesnt listen, i simply repeat it in a sterner voice. that usually works. However, in the rare event that he still doesnt listen I get a ruler, he moves very quickly!!! :)

15 4

U need to b patient , get down to there level and tel them to look at u, if there not lookin there not listening, then u need to tel n short words what u want them to do.hold my hand , dont hit, depends on age of child.

2 15

All of these things work well with compliant children. I have only one who is compliant of out 6. Mine are all strong willed and independent, and fight just because they feel like it. With the young ones, I have to physically intervene often. I have to leave the grocery store or restaraunt in the middle of what I am doing, I have to sometimes put them in their car seats to keep them from jumping off the piano or top bunk. I have to hold them until they fall asleep when they are exhausted and instead of becoming tired, get over-excited. They are very difficult. I have to be firm, and get help from friends and family when I am too tired to deal with their willfulness. There is a book called "Parenting the Willful Child" that helped me a lot with their difficult personalities. My elder children were not mine until they were over 10. They are even more difficult because they do not trust adults, because adults hurt them in the past. They require many even more work than my younger ones, and most of it involves touching them on the shoulder or fluffing their hair. I also have to discuss the same safety and behavior issues with them every day. Their counselor recommended a series of books called "Beyond Logic and Consequences" They are wonderful. One of the biggest problems here is the assumptions others make about your family. When people are judging you from their expectations, not knowing what is really going on in your family, try to remember that they really are only seeing one incident. Try not to let their perceptions embarrass you into forgetting what you are trying to teach your child. Remember discipline is about teaching, not punishing, to become self disciplined, one must learn to control impulses. Impulse control takes years to learn.

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29 0

You start teaching them from infancy. You practice the art of good listening in your relationships with others as well as your child. Sure there will be times when they ignore you, test your patience, or whatever, but just like please, thank you, and you're welcome they will pick it up from listening to you in your daily interactions.
On challenging days I am sure to make eye contact and ask my son to repeat what I said to make sure he is paying attention.

6 18

I have been having a few issues with this lately... I have found getting miss 3 to sit down and focus on me... and to repeat what I what her to hear. Once she has repeated it I know she is listening, and she know I know... it seems to be working most of the time... but tough one!

3 10

My boy is 4yrs and I am a single mom and I simply can't make friends with men nor date, he seems so controlling & possesive over my life. If he sees a man around me he throws tentrums, screams and say thinks and eventualy tells 'em to back off! I don't know how do I keep up with his behaviour and make him understand that the father is not around.

28 11

Hey girl, I can so relate mina my son is 2yrs old, he just doesnt like any man near me or even any other man talking to me on the phone its like he knows okay this is a man now let me demand her attention........... I have since learnt not to get intimidated by this but I try explain to a person that I have a son etc and hes very possesive , he know does these things moderately cause we just laugh it off. Live your life even though you are a single mom but give him time also .My soon to be 7yr old daughter is a sweetheart she just wants me home everyday thats it and laughs the whole potential stepdad thing off but I give my kids loads of respect they cant see me with lona today the next its uncle mike. best wishes girl

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150 10

`Hi, this is a question that I get asked so many times both as a childcare practitioner, and a parent.
Depending on the age of you child, the number of words that you use can be as important as whatyou want them to listen to for example washing their hands before dinner;

2 year old-------- wash hands

3 year old-------- wash hands please.

4 year old ------- Wash hands no please.

5 year old--------- wash hands please , well done.

6 year old........... wash hands now ,please dinner time.

7 year old---------- Wash hands now please, its dinner time.

8 year old----- Wash hands please, its dinner time , thank you .

As you can see I have used on word for each year, its a simple method of child communication, children cannot or choose not to listen to anything that is irrelevant so save your words reduced the amount you have to say, and keep it short and to the point. It does work and eventually you do stop counting how many words you're using!!
Try communicating games, sit your child on the floor look at them when talking, don't sit above them, and ask them to find something you have hidden around the house, like a treasure hunt, give them verbal clues to listen to (using not to many words) , and let them go find the treasure, the treasure should have a small surprise gift as a reward for listening to you.

Hope this helps Good Luck !

0 3

This is a wonderful blog that helped me with some of the answers to get my girls to listen to me and my husband.

2 0

1. Don't shout.
2. Don't give too much notes to remember. One at a time.
3. After speaking, do a recap by asking them to tell what they've understood from your words.
4. Don't be obsessively bombastic in your language, they are kids not linguist.
5. Examples should be incorporated if you are trying to teach them safety.
6. Don't make them understand something by belittling some one else in the family as examples for them not to follow.

I always sit my kids down for family talk n upon speaking my children share their opinions ideas suggestions and examples that I realise has helped them think logically.

11 5

I really like the book Have a new kid by Friday by Kevin Lehman-he teaches what he calls reality discipline

48 6

My daughter definitely has a mind of her own. She is usually a pretty good listener but there are times when she is really good at trying to be the boss. There were a few times last summer where she threw some mega tantrums when it was time to go home from the park (she was 2 at the time). I tried letting her just scream- didn't work. I tried carrying her home kicking and screaming- didn't like that at all. I finally decided to give her an ultimatum. I got on my knees so we were eye to eye and put my hands on her shoulders and said to her "It's time to go home now whether you like it or not. You can either be a big girl and carry my keys for me, or I'm carrying you home." I was amazed when she reached for the keys in my hand and decided to walk home and stop screaming.
So far what seems to work for me is giving her the chance to be independent but, still following through with the original plan. Carry the keys home, or help with the grocery basket instead of leaving etc. She gets to feel grown up, and I get a helper.

0 37

Some days I feel like the bad mommy. Repeating 100 times having to yell non stop just to be heard and get them to do something. They have their good days and bad days. They also love getting into things and making messes they know better and know its wrong. 4 & 3

0 10

Look them in the eye when you want them to focus on what you are saying.

1 11

My two daugfter ages 4 and 5 always watch tv while eating its getting hard for me to avoid their habit what can i do?

69 38

turn the tv off during food time... they will get used to it just like they are used to it on atm.

3 5

I just watched a video by a neuroscientist on the Big Think website last week that was really helpful. It was about teaching self-discipline to children. It made me smile, because I've seen similar techniques used with some adults.

Two things that are intuitively obvious to most parents – the importance of teaching children self-discipline and the educational power of fun – are also unusually well-supported by science.,AAAAGuNzXFE~,qu1BWJRU7c26MMkbB19ukwmFB5ysvYz5&bclid=0&bctid=1140903440001

0 3

I ask god to give me the words to say and try to calm myself down if i feel i am going to lose it. Make good on your threats always, so be careful what your threat is. At times you do not have time to explain to your child why they should listen. When you say it they do it, so have it pre-established that if you have to repeat yourself then x will take place. IE "If i have to repeat a direction today while we are out then you will have to spend 2 minutes in quiet time for every offence.

27 105

this is a very tough question for us mothers of little ones...but one method that I have realized that will never fail if you want your child to listen...get to there can squart or kneel down, look at them straight in the eye as you talk to them in a calm voice if you are teaching them something, or a firm voice if you are trying to warn them against some "mischief". As for depends on their toddlers and pre-schoolers their attention span is so little...hence you have to engage them in variety of things. Then as a parent it is important for you to mean what you say...for example if you say, if you repeat that action I will give you quiet time - please implement it, or else you child will never take you seriouly.

0 14

I use a very simple reward system (marble jar) - super easy and cheap to implement. I reward my children, boys ages 4 and 3, when they obey me the first time. For instance, if I say, "boys come eat dinner," and I quickly hear little running feet coming to dinner, they get a marble. If they put their shoes where they go, they get a marble. If they use kind words, they get a marble, etc. I love accentuating the positive. Otherwise, I feel like I'm in the negative trap -"don't, quit it, stop it..." Once the marble jar reaches a marked line, the boys get a pretty cool treat (perhaps something that is a little out of the ordinary like a trip to Chuck E Cheese, or the zoo. Rewarding desired behaviors is typically much more effective that punishing undesireable ones...

3 61

By sitting my son down, & talking to him. I will ask if he understands, & if he continues then we go to time out for about 5mins. This usually works. Just remember, every child reponds differently.

2 5

Goodness Ive got strange children... They cry every night before going to bed, sometimes they only go to sleep after midnight, i really get so tired of this. Im strict and even give them a hiding if nothing else works but it seem as if they only get worse. I dont wanna scare them with the boogyman and all that crap but im close in doing so lol.... Please help if you have the same problem i really need some sleep. :-) Oh yes and if you put them to bed they are so "hungry" so they have to eat like NOW!

1 9

Have you tried malatonin? You can get it over-the-counter @ most stores. It just helps people fall asleep. It takes 20-30 minutes for it to work. A doctor recommended it for my family & it works great. Plus the only side effect that we have seen are happier kids because they were able to get the sleep that they needed.

0 12

My son is five years old. He listens most of the time and does what i tell him to, but sometimes he just won't sit still and concentrate on what I am saying. He started Kindergarten a couple weeks ago. Tonight, for example, I was trying to review his social studies homework with him and he was listening, but when I asked a question he would look everywhere but at me. This was not always the case. Until he was 3, he would listen and answer all my questions no problem.

0 8

I agree with another girl that said you need to be simple and direct and to the point. My child definitely listens when it is simple, but more so he will have special priveleges taken away if he chooses not to listen. I have been giving him an ultimatium situation a lot lately. For example, " If you don't go wash your hands for dinner now, you are not going to be able to eat dessert because your hands or dirty," . I am teaching him that it is something he needs to do because his hands are dirty, but he also won't get dessert which is his favorite if he doesn't do it. It doesn't have to be in a threatening tone, just that he has choices and there are simple consequences not elaborate consequenences is key.

10 15

which other girl we are all 'girls' on here hehe

10 15

I have since learned that children don't respond well with 'the look' My 2.5y.o son is a very independant boy who knows how to throw a tantrum. He is a strong willed child who won't take 'DO IT' easy. I follow the simple rules...get down to his level, look him in the eyes and talk to him as if he could really understand what I am about to ask him. I try not to talk to him like a baby, as my theory is, children are little adults. They are sponges that will do as they see. (Common saying in my house is 'Monkey see, Monkey Do!' If they see you lose your temper and shouting, they won't listen! They will retaliate with a Tantrum!!!


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