Being a parent brings many joys and along with those joys comes challenges. It is not always easy or simple teaching our children the things they need to know to keep them safe along with all the other skills they are going to need in life.
My biggest frustration has always been how to get my kids to listen while still keeping myself calm and patient. I don’t want to be that nagging screeching mother. It has sometimes felt like nothing I do gets my kids to listen.
Here are some of the things that I have learned that help my kids to listen:
Are Their Needs Met?
Now this may seem like it has nothing to do with getting your children to listen but it is actually really important – if my kids needs are not met they become grumpy little creatures that create mayhem everywhere they go.
This is particularly true of my son that has just turned 5 years old. If he has not eaten properly or he is tired he is sure to melt down and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it.
If my kids are bored, excited, hungry or tired I can’t expect them to behave perfectly or listen properly.
As far as possible I try and be prepared for anything. I have toys, books, coloring books, crayons, spare clothes and emergency snacks and drinks in my car. This means that I can mostly meet their needs whenever and wherever we are.
If we are sitting in a restaurant that has no play area and the food is taking too long I can whip out a book to entertain them and if they are getting hungry I can give them a quick snack to keep them going until their meal arrives, instead of moaning at them to sit still and to keep the noise levels down
You will be amazed at how just this one thing can change a situation around.
One of the challenges I have often had as a work from home mom is that my kids just want my attention. Instead of pushing to get my work done first I do something with them and I will let them know that I need to work afterwards and what is expected of them while I work. I get them started on that activity before I get going with my work. Their needs have then been met and then I can get some work done.
Get Their Attention
The next important thing is to get down to their level and talk to them. Get yourself down to their eye level and hold their hands, then ask them to look at you while you talk to them. Holding their hands will keep them focused on you while you talk.
Once you have spoken to your children ask them to repeat back to you what you have said to make sure that they did in fact listen and to ensure that they properly understand what you have said.
Yes you may be busy and trying to get something done so calling out for them to stop what they are doing may seem like the simple and easy way to do things but it really serves no purpose and you will most likely land up moaning, groaning, nagging and even yelling.
Taking a few moments to get their attention properly and talk to them once will be much more effective.
Use Positive Talk
If you feel like what you are saying is going in one ear and out the other it probably is. If you want your children to listen try changing the way that you speak. Turn negatives into positives and see what a difference it makes.
Your child will not enjoy hearing you saying this like “stop it”, “don’t do that”, “no” and similar negative statements. Instead replace those with positive statements that tell your children what they should be doing instead of what they shouldn’t be doing.
Rephrasing something like “don’t bounce the ball in the house” to “please play with your ball in the garden” can make such a difference to the way that your child processes the information. Your child is much more likely to listen and follow your instructions when they are phrased in a positive way and the message is clear.
Think about it – if you tell your child not to bounce the ball in the house are you telling your child what they should be doing instead?
Very often children don’t understand why they can’t do something. Let’s take something very simple like the example of bouncing the ball in the house. If you tell your child not to bounce the ball in the house it is a negative statement that does not teach your child why it is important to play with their ball outside.
It may take something as simple as explaining to your child that bouncing the ball and throwing the ball in house can lead to things in the home being broken. Broken things can result in dangerous situations such as being cut by broken glass.
You can use situations as a way to explain to your children why you don’t want them to do something instead of just telling them what they shouldn’t be doing and leaving it at that.
Use Books and Videos To Teach Your Children Lessons
Children love reading books and watching videos. Look for fun books that teach your children lessons – they are sure to take these things in and start to understand things in a better way. There are also lots of free Youtube videos that teach lessons to kids.
Children absorb information better when they are enjoying themselves and when it doesn’t seem like a lesson to them. There are so many amazing books that can teach your children lessons (like the importance of listening) and the values that are important to you as a family.
Reading to your children is also a wonderful way of bonding with your kids and it will give you the perfect opportunity to discuss lessons learned after reading to your child.
Be A Good Role Model
One thing that is very important when it comes to parenting is to practice what you preach. Children learn best by watching their parents and emulating their behavior.
Listen to your own children and if you don’t understand what they are trying to tell you ask them questions until you do understand. Make sure not to interrupt them and to pay attention.