(Hahaha . . . that made me laugh, too!)
“Don’t forget to put your dishes away, please.”
Five minutes later, “Did you put your dishes away?”
Three minutes later, “I don’t want to ask again.”
One minute later, “DISHES! NOW!!!”
What’s up with that?
Why does it take nagging and yelling to get any kind of response? What is it that makes some kids such bad listeners? Is it defiance? Laziness? Maybe it’s part of a greater power struggle or need for attention. Regardless the reason, as a parent, there are few things more frustrating than being ignored.
Of course, we all love our kids. We want to keep our children safe and healthy, yadda, yadda, yadda… but when they ignore us, some days it’s all we can do to keep from wringing their precious little necks! Seriously, it’s truly annoying!
So, before you start losing it completely and the muttering under your breath becomes habitual, you may want to give these tips to creating better listeners a try. Who knows? Some of them may actually make an impression.
8 tips to get your children to listen better
- Get your kid’s attention and then start talking. Ditch the distractions, such as TV, siblings, books or devices, and get up close and personal. A little eye contact ensures you are both present. If you think you need to, ask them to repeat it back or check that they understand the request.
- Keep it simple, sweetie. If this is just the latest in a litany of instructions throughout the day, then maybe that’s the issue. Let the little stuff go and put weight on the big things, so your kid knows what’s important.
- Talk in a whisper. Everyone loves a secret, so keep it confidential. This works especially well with younger kids. “Pssst, I heard you were going to fold the laundry…that’s awesome. Think you can do it before Dad gets home?”
- Keep it short. “Door!” or “Dishes, please.” No need to belabour and bore, just focus on one or two things.
- Give a warning. If you know that a chore will be necessary, try giving advanced notice and offer a precise plan. “When your show is over, please set the table.”
- Be respectful. Keep it positive and polite – easier said than done at times but also something that helps us all listen a bit better.
- Set up routines. The abler your child is to understand what is expected of them, the less nagging that is necessary. Write out lists, come up with timelines, establish habits – it all helps limit the need for instructions and potential for ignoring.
- Be a better listener. Back to the old “role model” thing. Show your child what a good listener looks and acts like. Put down your phone and listen. Or explain that you’ll be done in a minute and then you can really focus on what they are saying.
As annoying as it can be to be ignored, I guess we should put ourselves in our kids’ place, too. After all, constantly being told what to do is a drag. So, establish routines and then think about what you say before you say it. For every “naggy” thing, try to offer something positive. Maybe you’ll both get in the habit of having happy interactions – and keep the neck-wringing to a minimum.