Simple tips to encourage your child to listen
Any parent will tell you that getting their three and a half year old to actually listen is one of the most frustrating issues they deal with.
From asking them to put their toys away to telling them it’s bath time, children often appear to be ignoring us.
Goodstart Early Learning National Manager, Professional Practice, Greg Antcliff said the issue of toddlers not listening to their parents was a normal practice for this age group. He said the key to getting children to listen was ensuring effective requests were given so children were clear about what they needed to do.
“If a request is given well it will increase the likelihood of the child following it. Giving an effective request also avoids the adult feeling frustrated by the child not complying,” Mr Antcliff said.
“Effective requests are those that use simple language and make it clear to the child what they need to do. When appropriate, gestures and gentle physical guidance can be used to help the child understand exactly what is required.
“Clear instructions state the instruction in a positive way, so the child knows what to do rather than not what to do.”
TIPS ON GETTING CHILDREN TO LISTEN:
- Get close (about an arm’s length away from the child)
- Say the child’s name to make sure you have their attention
- Be brief and specific about what action you’d like the child to take
- Be firm and unemotional so the child focuses on the content of what they are saying rather than on the tone
- Wait for the child’s response (about five seconds)
- Watch and stay with the child until they follow the instruction
- Use gestures to reinforce what they want the child to do
- If appropriate, use gentle physical guidance to help direct the child
- Give descriptive praise when they do comply (name exactly what it is they have been doing), and
- Avoid giving the child a choice if they do not have one.