Want to know how to talk so that your kids listen to you? Of course you do! Here are 10 secret tips for how to talk to your kids effectively every time!
Even the most well-behaved children can have selective hearing at times.
If you have kids yourself, you will know this is 100% true.
One day they don’t seem to even recognize that you’re speaking (frustrating, right?).
The next, they clearly hear you, but they fail to follow your directions.
It can be so incredibly exasperating when children won’t listen.
Here’s the deal: as parents, we sometimes inadvertently teach our children that it’s okay not to listen.
But I am not kidding.
We need to make sure we consistently follow through on our expectation that our kids listen to us, if this is something we think is important to us.
Want to know exactly how to get your kids to listen to you?
The good news is it CAN be done.
Here’s how to get your children to listen and follow your directions:
TIP # 1 – When possible, be in the same space.
Children are more likely to listen and follow through if you speak while in their presence.
Yes, IN THEIR PRESENCE.
It’s less effective to holler down the stairs, out the window, or across the house.
I mean be honest; we have all yelled out instructions to our kids from a distance at some point in time and expected them to follow through with our requests.
Instead, stand directly in front of your child and say what needs to be said.
TIP # 2 – Remove distractions.
Stand in front of the TV, pick up the toy they’re using, pull the earbuds out of their ears, put your hand on the book they’re reading.
The distractions available today are more powerful than ever before.
You will need to remove the distractions before attempting to gain their attention.
TIP # 3 – Use their name. People are more responsive when their name is used.
Here’s another great tip: use your child’s name at the beginning of the request.
Anything else can be interpreted as normal parental noise and is quickly ignored.
If you use their name and they respond, there’s a good chance they will hear what follows.
TIP # 4 – Give a reason for any direction.
Instead of saying, “Put away your clothes” try being more specific.
For example: “Put away your clothes so you can play before dinner.”
Many children don’t like to be bossed around, but are much more receptive when a logical reason is provided.
They have to know THE REASON for taking action.
Some parents dream of being obeyed instantly (good luck with that!) and without question (sigh, here’s hoping!).
But let’s be honest: this isn’t always a realistic expectation.
TIP # 5 – Use appropriate vocabulary.
It’s not possible to address an 18-year old and a 3-year old in the same manner.
Ensure that you’re being age-appropriate with your requests.
Speak in a way that is tailored best to the child in question.
What will motivate each child to take action?
You’ll quickly learn how to address each child in the most effective manner.
TIP # 6 – Control your volume.
FYI: When you get louder, the child usually gets louder.
Convey your emotion with the words you choose rather than your volume.
You don’t need to yell or scream to get results.
Children can be sound sensitive and getting loud rarely has a positive outcome.
Maintain peace and order by speaking at a sensible volume.
Ask instead with grace and clear instructions.
TIP # 7 – Be firm.
Children aren’t fools.
Once they learn you can be out maneuvered, they’ll continue to do so again and again (heads up, this is a normal reaction that kids will use to get out of doing something they really don’t want to do).
You only increase the likelihood of resistance by caving in on occasion.
This isn’t something I recommend!
Be firm and your children will learn that resistance is futile.
TIP # 8 – Be consistent.
Children are more likely to follow directions when you’re consistent in your requests.
Inconsistency and children don’t mix well.
It only seeks to confuse them.
TIP # 9 – Offer alternatives.
Everyone wants to have more control over their life, children included.
You can start by offering alternatives. “Do you want broccoli or carrots for dinner?”
“Would you like to wear this shirt or that shirt?”
It may seem trivial, but children value having a little bit of control.
Just ensure that you’re providing alternatives that work for you!
TIP # 10 – Be clear in your expectations.
“Pick up your room” may not be sufficient enough.
I mean, what do you REALLY WANT THEM TO DO?
Maybe it’s: “Pick up your toys and put them away. Then put your dirty clothes in the hamper.”
Thankfully this second request is more likely to provide a better and clearer result.
Give your child as much information as they need to meet your expectations.
So there’s you have it – 10 specific strategies which will increase the chance of getting your child to listen to you.
Make sure to be consistent in how you speak to your child and be sure to use their name in order to get their attention.
Remember to remove any distractions prior to engaging with your child.
With some patience, you will eventually discover that you can have a productive conversation with your child that provides real results.