Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

6 Effective strategies for your children to listen

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


Children have many things on their minds to begin with, so what their parents are asking them to do can fall below their priority list. On the other hand, children who have experienced a significant change in the family as a separation or divorce from their parents may have much more to think about. Even so, it is important that parents have effective strategies for their children to listen when it matters most, such as in an emergency. Consider these six effective strategies for your children to listen to.

Take a moment to connect.

Make eye contact before you start talking. To do so, you must captivate your attention. Observe what they are doing and see if you can connect with them for that. For example, if your child is coloring at the table, sit down on the vacuum cleaned carpet and ask him what he is drawing. Let him talk about it and make eye contact with you. Once this happens, you are more likely to get your attention when I tell you what to say.

Read More

Keep it short and sweet.

Do not reduce your children's attention time by giving them a 5-minute speech about something that could be said simply in a few short sentences. Consider your child's age and developmental needs; finally use those measures to guide what you plan to say. You can even try to use a single word to gently move your memories so that they understand what you want.

Consider an alternative to the commands.

Children do not always want to listen and be told what to do. They are stubborn individuals who want to make their own decisions. Instead of always telling them what to do, gradually start to trust them to make smart decisions. If your children have a pet that needs to be fed, remember that your pet feels hungry as they do. Eliminating the need to always give orders to your children can also make them more receptive to the commands they are given when they are really needed.

Give them options.

It's easy to tell a child something like, "If you do not do this, you cannot have the other." Instead, try to give them options. For example, if your child wants to go outside, but do not apply sunscreen first, try giving them the option to put on sunscreen now and leave immediately or help with chores. Even if they choose chores, they will probably end up applying sunscreen once they realize they will have a better time out.

Practice listening to your children.

In order for your children to listen to you, you will have to show them how it is done. When your child asks a question, take a moment to make eye contact with them and respond. If you are in the middle of another task or cannot hear your question right away, take some time to quietly tell them this. Recognize that you heard what they said and help them understand in simple terms that you cannot focus on them now, but once you have finished your task.

Show your appreciation when you are heard.

Offer positive reinforcements through your words or simple rewards when your children listen to you and do what you ask them to do. Thank them when they help you with something you asked for or tell them how much you appreciate being listened to. From time to time, you could reward them with a special gift or offer a little more freedom to do things they like, such as extra time to play or a second story before bedtime. While the rewards should be used sparingly, they will help encourage this behavior to continue.

As a parent, these six effective strategies for your children to listen to can help, but they require consistency and practice. In addition, other factors may need to be considered as the emotional well-being and development status of your children. Additional support from child specialists may be necessary and they end up being a great help in getting your children to listen. However, what you practice at home will have the greatest impact on your ability to listen when it is really relevant.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.