Eight tips to end the “my kids never listen to me” dilemma

listeningYou’ve repeated your request a thousand times – or at least if feel like that. But there sits your child ignoring what you just told them to do. The funny thing is that even though we know our kids may tune us out and choose to focus on their TV program we keep doing the same thing. Sometimes it feels the only way to get the kids to listen is to raise my voice. Then I feel guilty about yelling at them.

What needs to change is my behavior. I mean doing the same thing and expecting different results seems ridiculous. So I turned to the Internet to look for some new ideas or maybe just a reminder of things to try. Here is some of what I found.

  • Consider their age – I think sometimes we as adults expect our kids to think and behave like we do. But they are not little adults. It is our responsibility to teach them what they need to do. So instead of yelling at them and repeating the same thing over, consider telling them once and then “helping” them to do what you asked. I have often found especially with Lexie that she sometimes just doesn’t understand what we want her to do – even if she had done it before.
  • Consider what you say – Take some time to listen to what you say to your kids. Is everything negative? Are you constantly lecturing them and yelling? If so, it is natural reaction to tune someone out and disconnect from the negativity. Change your approach and maybe the results will be different.
  • Don’t give them repeat chances – Tell them once. Don’t say by the time I count to three (or ten or whatever) because you know they are going to wait to the last second to comply. I remember reading one parenting book that said you should tell them once but lay out the consequence of not doing whatever you asked. “Please pick up your toys in the living room. Any toys I find when I come back in ten minutes are going in the time out box for a week.” And then follow through.
  • Try lowering your voice – I have heard this time and time again. Instead of yelling, try talking softly. I have yet to try this. I fear that talking softly would be lost during the crazy loud noise my kids are usually making at the time.
  • Practice Listening – Listening is a learned skill. Make sure you take the time to listen to your children. And I mean really listen. Turn away from the computer or put down the book and listen to what they are telling you. Model for them how you want them to behave.
  • Be close – Don’t yell out directions from the other room. (Yep, I am guilty of this one.) Though they may be able to hear you with the TV on or while you are banging around pots and pans in the kitchen, they are not focusing on what you are saying. So go to them, get down on their level, look in their eyes and tell them what you need from them.
  • Keep it short – Don’t list off a long list of things that need to be done. Young children can only process and remember one to two commands at a time. So have them complete one thing before moving on to the others.
  • Repeat – No that isn’t you repeating the message or request again and again. We already covered how fruitless that can be. Instead, have your child repeat back to you what you just asked them to do. “Now tell me, what are you going to do as soon as you finish breakfast?”

Now like I said, a lot of these are advice that I have heard before, but sometimes it bears repeating again and again. Maybe this time I will be listening.