Sunday, 19 August 2018

How to get your toddler to listen #toddler

Brianna, © 2018 aspicyboycatandmyfatass.com
Toddlers are like you and I... they don't always listen. At their age they need us to teach them how to pay attention, but what happens quite often is parents say something over a dozen times, then they start counting down to punishment. That doesn't really teach a child how to listen... it teaches them that they can ignore you the first 12 times, and only pay attention once you lose your shit! Getting your child to listen shouldn't be an ongoing battle, so here are some tips to make it easier.

Get on her level

As many parents learn sooner or later, bellowing from a higher height, much less from the other room, rarely has the desired effect. Kneel down to their level or pick them up, so you can make eye contact and get their attention.

Eye contact is important and works best when you're face to face with your toddler. She'll listen more closely if you sit down next to them at the table during a meal, or perch on her bed at night to read a story before you turn out the light.


Be clear

Make sure you state your message clearly, simple, and with a quiet authority. Your child will tune out if you harp on a topic too long. Just be straight to the point to get the message across. Keep in mind that it's good to give toddlers choices, but be sure you're okay with the options you're offering... and stick with only two choices. By allowing your toddler to make limited choices, she'll feel empowered and you'll be satisfied with the result.

Follow through

Make it clear that you mean what you say, but don't make threats or promises that you can't keep. If you warn them that they'll have a time-out if she hits her brother, give her that time-out when the blow comes.

Make sure your spouse shares your rules and respects them as well, so that neither of you undermines the other. If there's a disagreement, try and talk it through so you're both clear as to what needs to be said and done, if the issue comes up again.

Don't fall into the trap of repeating less urgent instructions over and over, before expecting your child to comply. Gently guide your child, so she knows exactly what you want done.

Give warnings

Give your child some advance warning before a big change will take place. For example, before you're ready to leave the home, say "We're going to leave in a few minutes. When I call you, it's time to come out of the sandbox and wash your hands."


Be instructive... and make it fun

Give realistic tasks, and try and make it fun. Yelling orders may produce results, but no one will enjoy the process. Most children respond better when you treat them with confident good humour. Try using a silly voice or sing a song to deliver your message. You might sing "It's time to brush your teeth", or "time to wash your hands" to the tune of a popular kids song.

Make sure the benefits of listening make sense to your child. "Brush your teeth and then you can pick out your favourite pj's" instead of "you have to brush your teeth or you'll get cavities. Praise her when she finishes brushing... "good job" or "good listening".

Model good behaviour

Children will be better listeners if they see that you're a good listener. Make it a habit to listen to your toddler, as respectfully as you would with any adult. Look at her when she talks to you, respond politely, and let her finish without interrupting when possible.

Even if you're busy and you're child is talking, try not to walk away or turn your back while they're talking. As with so many other behaviors, the "do as I say, not as I do" has no value when teaching them to listen.

Catch your child being good

How often do you talk to your child about what she's doing wrong? Would you want to listen to someone, like your boss... who only gave you negative feedback?

Your child is more likely to listen to you if you notice when she's behaving well, and comment on it. Make sure to give you child plenty of positive reinforcement, and she'll be less likely to tune you out when you need to steer her back on course.


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