How to Get Your Children to Listen to You

Reading time: 4 minutes

Often children turn a deaf ear to what their parents say. The reason for this behavior lies not in disrespect for elders, but in the inability to take the words of others seriously. Let’s see what can be done in such a situation and how to get your children to listen to you.

how to get your children to listen to you
Photo credit: Emma Bauso

Don’t Interrupt 

Show your child that it is wrong to interrupt the speaker. At first, just try to convey this idea to the child. If this doesn’t help, stop talking every time your words are interrupted by minor comments. Start speaking again only when you’ve engrossed their attention again.

Be Clear and Distinct

You have to clearly formulate your requests or questions and keep them simple so that there were no questions and misunderstandings left, and, therefore, no chance to get out of it. Leave rhetorical questions to a certain child’s age. Kids are not capable of understanding them.

Get on Their Level

When you need your kid’s attention, ensure that you get THEIR attention in the first place. Lower yourself to your child’s level, make eye contact, and ensure they see and hear you. To do this, you may need to put away what you’re doing now and even go to another room. This will strengthen and improve your communication.

mom hugs child
Photo credit: Josh Willink

Don’t Lift the Established Rules

If you have forbidden to do something, you shouldn’t allow your kid to do it in an hour or a day. The same applies to instructions from other family members: if dad forbade the kid something, mom should not allow it, too. If you do the opposite, this is how you will question dad’s authority and words.

Try to Avoid Saying No

Kids have hundreds of requests every day, and not all of them can and will be fulfilled by parents. Remember what you usually say when your child asks you to do lots of things that you are not about to do today? “No”, “Not today”, “Nope”, “No, I don’t have time for this”, etc.

But when a NO-response is your answer all the time, it isn’t surprising that your kids stop listening to what YOU say or ask them to do. So start introducing the YES-responses which will definitely amaze and delight your kid, but do it wisely.

Instead of “No, you won’t eat ice-cream today” try to say “Ice cream sounds like a great idea but let’s have it on Saturday?”

Instead of “No, we won’t go to the park today” try to say “What a great idea! Let’s go to the park tomorrow after school?”

Certainly, there are situations when the only answer should be a strict NO. But in other cases try to replace NO by YES, and you’ll see the difference.

Keep It Short

The popular rule in the sales business is to “never sell with blah-blah what you can sell with blah”. And this is so true in parenting as well!

Parents, and moms in particular, tend to turn a 10-second answer into a 10-minute monologue. You won’t keep your child’s attention if you use loads of words to back up your requests so be as clear and concise as possible. 

Don’t Raise Your Voice

The request should be pronounced calmly and confidently. Speak with your child as equals so that they could feel the vote of confidence from you. And this will inbreed a sense of responsibility. When you raise your tone and demand something from your child, it won’t work and may even worsen your relationship.

dad explains his son
Photo credit: August De Richelieu

From the Word Go

Teach your child to obey you at the first time of asking. The request that is repeated ten times but still not fulfilled looks ridiculous. Entrust your child with a task and make your child promise that it will be done. Show them that if they don’t comply with it, they can be punished (for instance, you won’t allow the kid to go and play with their friends outside or you will cut out their favorite TV shows or computer games).

Certainly, by doing this, you shouldn’t frighten your kid but show them that they have to be responsible and that your words matter.

Ensure Comprehension

How to get your children to listen to you? To make sure your child has heard what you said is to let them pronounce it.

As an example, let’s take a look at medical studies that have concluded that 40-80% of information doctors tell their patients is either misunderstood or forgotten. And this is about ADULTS, not kids! To fight with this misunderstanding, doctors started using the ‘teach-back’ method where patients had to repeat the treatment instructions and recommendations to their doctors, which cardinally increased the retention of information.

The same method can be effectively used when teaching your kids to listen and hear what you say. Just make sure they have repeated your requests.

Final Words

As you can see, the issue of how to get your children to listen to you can be easily solved. Just like adults, kids need to be heard and seen. And if parents don’t meet this need of theirs, kids stop listening to them. Following our tips and with little patience and persistence, you will achieve understanding and improve communication with your children.

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Natalie Mak

Natalie has got her degree from Stanford University and has helped many families and children who had various problems. Now she is a mom to a smart little girl and also a dedicated writer. She is a real expert in everything that concerns baby psychology and development. Natalie adores sports, traveling, and Italian cuisine and loves being useful and helping people to make this world a better place.

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