How to Get Kids to Listen to You

- | 65 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Family & Parenting

father trying to get kids to listen to him

How to get kids to listen? What can I do to make my kids listen to what I have to say?

Aren’t these one of the major difficulties and questions parents face while parenting their children?

Is there any special formula or a magic trick that would instantly transform your children to listen to you?

I don’t think so. But I do know that the solution inherently lies in communication.

Almost all parents would agree that trying to talk to your children is no easy task, especially when sometimes they don’t seem to be in any mood to listen or even hear what you have to say!

This means parents need to do more than just talk. They need to make their way of talking more effective, and change their parenting style.

I’m sure all of you can relate to the post, even those who aren’t parents. Did you always listen to your parents? How and what did they do to make you listen to them?

When your kids don’t listen to you, doesn’t it aggravate things, and often turn into angry confrontation?

Like other parents, it might be making you anxious and bugged – forcing you to think of ways to get kids to listen.

If you remember my earlier post on 10 reasons your kids don’t listen to you, I’d mentioned all the reasons why kids don’t listen to their parents, so I won’t repeat them here.

Instead, I’d head over straight to how you can improve the channels of communication with your children.

Doing so will ensure that your children are open, receptive, listen, and pay heed to your talks, advices, and suggestions.

“Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” ~ James Baldwin

What You Can Do to Get Kids to Listen to You

As parents, sometimes you might have to create unpleasant or negative consequence for kids who don’t listen. But don’t forget to reward and praise your kids for being good listeners too.

Didn’t your parents punish your refusal to listen in some way or the other? Perhaps that’s why you learnt to listen to your parents as kids – isn’t it? As parents, that’s exactly what you need to do too.

No, I’m not talking about harsh and physical punishments. They’re a complete NO-NO.

Aren’t you all creatures of habits – unless corrected in the initial stages or taught to do the things the right way, you form wrong habits. That applies to your kids too.

But as adults, you learn that you’ve the power to change your habits, and not make a fuss about it.

Remember to use consistent consequences for your kids, if they fail to listen to you, because that’s the way kids will learn to listen!

Some children will easily learn the listening rule you share, while others might find it challenging because of their inborn nature. They might take long, but will fall in line with time.

With consistent parenting, strong-willed or stubborn kids also become good listeners. Your rapport with your child is an important decisive factor that will help him/her cope with change in life.

“Children don’t need much advice but they really do need to be listened to and not just with half an ear.” ~ Emma Thompson

Ways to Get Kids to Listen to You

Here are a few tried and tested ways to make your children listen to what you have to say. Hope they work for you –

1- Listen to your kids

There can be no better way to get kids to listen to you, than listening to your own kids. This includes their verbal and non-verbal language.

Being parents you can make out when your children are angry, frustrated, unhappy, overwhelmed, or just cranky. Try avoiding things they don’t like, if you can.

Just like you don’t like being forced, sometime kids also don’t like that. So, avoid putting them in situations they can’t handle, just because you feel they can or should.

When you ignore or punish kids, especially when they throw tantrums, those are times you need to apologize to your kids. Don’t feel that because you are parents, you shouldn’t apologize!

These are times to let your kids know that you didn’t know about their discomfort, or reason behind their behavior. Instead, try to fix their unmet needs, of course if it’s possible.

Also, kids imitate their parents. So, if you are a good listener, your kids will also learn to listen.

I wasn’t all that good at listening to my kids earlier, so they never listened to me. But with time, I learnt that if I heard them out patiently, they did just the same. So, it does work. 🙂

2- Play with your kids

There can be nothing better to connect with your kids, other than the playful time they share with you. Don’t expect them to join you in things you like doing. Instead, you join them in what they like doing.

Get engrossed in their small pleasures, even if it’s something you don’t like. Just be yourself and give in to them, and watch them listen to you!

3- Be honest and reliable

Sometimes as parents you might forget to keep the promises you make to your kids. You might mean to keep them, but due to lack of time or a busy schedule, you can’t keep them. I’m guilty at times here!

But to a child, breaking such promises removes the trust they have in you, and eventually they stop believing and listening to what you have to say.

Similarly, you need to be accurate and reliable about the facts you share with your kids. If what you share turns out to be untrue, and might be just your opinion, your kids will not listen to you any longer.

This can be dangerous, especially in the teenage years. So, if you want to get kids to listen to you, then share your views, but give your kids the freedom to explore more on their own too.

4- Find the ‘Yes’s’ and lessen the ‘No’s’

I know this is easier said than done! But try putting yourself in your kid’s shoes, and think how you would feel if someone said ‘no’ to what you said several times a day.

How would you feel? Would you listen? I’m sure you wouldn’t – and it’s the same with kids.

If your child asks something that you feel isn’t right, then instead of saying an outright ‘no’ – try to find a solution with a ‘yes’. Offer alternatives that work for both of you.

This will make them listen to you and also show that you are listening to them, and trying to help them.

Of course, there are times when a no means a no – like when there are serious issues like screaming in public, hitting a sibling, or doing dangerous things.

Your kids will listen to you when you don’t put demands nor order them to do things. Rather, provide them with advice, feedback, information, and just be there for them.

5- Talk slowly, with pauses

Sometimes when parents talk quickly, kids unconsciously retreat and tend not to listen. Don’t overload your kids with too much information or things to do at one time. Instead, do it in small bits.

Be simple and straight in your talk, and let them digest what you’ve said before you move to the next point.

Talk with expression, smile where necessary, and light up your eyes when you talk with passion. Talk with energy and use animation, as it’s always more effective.

You could even use audio and visual aids to get them fully involved when you want to get kids to listen to you.

6- Don’t repeat things too often

To make kids listen to you, avoid repeating things or saying them over and over again. This only bugs the kids, and lessens the impact of your words.

Instead, lay down consequences for their actions if they don’t listen to you, which again should be reasonable ones and not too harsh on them.

Consequences are just to make them listen to you – not really punish them in the real sense.

7- Get down to your child’s level

If you really wish your kids to listen to you when you talk, then physically get down to their level. If it’s tough to do that, pick them up and put them on your lap, or talk to them looking into their eyes.

Don’t babble or be vague when you talk, nor try to have your word, or use words that your child won’t understand. Hear out your child first, then give your views in a calm, slow, and effective manner.

8- Use simple words

Talk to your kids in words they understand, as then it becomes easier to get your point across to them. Use simple words and speak slowly so that they understand what you are saying.

You could even ask them to repeat what they understood, or be kind enough to repeat if they haven’t understood your point.

And don’t shout, yell, or get angry if you have to repeat things because that would only scare and drive away your child from you. Also, your kids are always watching and learning from you – so be careful 🙂

Remember, your kids will only be able to listen to you if they understand what you said. The way you talk to your kids has a huge impact on their learning, and the ability to listen to you.

“Listen to the desires of your children. Encourage them and then give them the autonomy to make their own decision.” ~ Denis Waitley

Here is a lovely video that tells you that your kids will listen to you if you listen to them. Also, if you ask them questions and change the way you talk – your kids will be all ears! Hope you enjoy it.

[youtube id=”4C7Fxc6LbeU” width=”620″ height=”360″]

Jane Nelsen ~ How to Get Your Child to Listen in 90 seconds ~ You Tube Video

Teaching your kids the art of listening will help lay the foundation for their life ahead. Thus, even if there are days you feel like giving up on helping your kids improve their listening skills – don’t lose hope!

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! It takes time, work, patience, and practice. So, don’t give up on trying  to get kids to listen to you – they will thank you for it when they are older. 🙂

Over to you

What did your parents do to make you listen to them? Were you a child who always listened to your parents? What ways would you suggest on how to get kids to listen to you? Share your views below.


Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos

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65 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Monisha

    2014-03-28 at 8:15 pm

    Thank You so much for these tips!!! This post is eye opening for me. As a mother of 6 year old I’ve been struggling with her “listening” and just recently it’s been getting “worse”. I definitely need to get much better at incorporating #2 and #6 into my routine. I will start implementing these today! thank you again for sharing.

  2. yogesh pant

    2013-07-10 at 9:57 am

    These days, children do not want to be dictated by their parents.
    They absolutely don’t like when ordered something to do.
    Being a parent, one have to understand what his/her child wants to do.
    They have to hear to his children.
    Great article, relating to the practical life condition!

    • Harleena Singh

      2013-07-10 at 2:09 pm

      Welcome to the blog Yogesh!

      Absolutely! It is very tough to make kids listen to you nowadays because of the way things have changed over the years. But I guess even we wouldn’t like to be ordered, instead, explained things in a nice manner when we are told to do something – and the same thing is with kids too.

      All parents must listen to their children, and give them time enough to be able to speak their mind. The freedom of expressing themselves is what we need to give them.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad you liked the post too 🙂

  3. Mayura

    2013-04-28 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Beautiful post dear 🙂 This post follows your earlier post about why kids don’t listen to their parents.

    I feel like you are getting ideas for posts through your own life 😉 To make yours better while helping others to make theirs better. Or I’m just wrong? 😉

    Obviously, there are different approaches in getting kids to listen to their parents 🙂 But it’s not about every possible way, but the right way. Isn’t it Harleena? 🙂

    I feel parenting is quite harder though parents do it right or wrong. But those who enjoy parenting and responsibilities would disagree with me as they just love doing it and see how their children grow 🙂
    Well, in this relationship, parents are the ones who can do the tricks. The more you spend quality time with kids, the more they get closer.I know, parents know a lot of stuff and experienced than kids. But they simply don’t understand it. Sometimes parents might think “Why should I listen to kids, instead they should listen to me”. But parents should be clever than that, no? 🙂

    When I was a kid, I expected my parents (You know, especially father) to be honest, listen (Or understand what I trying to imply) and spend more time with me 🙂 I’m just a kid and somehow wanted more attention. Those 3 includes here and I’m totally agree with ’em as they can be pretty effective. Plus, using more YESs will be helpful.

    Well, I’ll need to try rest of ’em when I have kids Harleena 😀 lol… No, I’ve been using ’em with kids I know and they are effective too. Especially playing with kids and talking slowly.

    Still I like to behave as a kid and go to their level 😉 Aren’t we all? Kids are just amazing.

    What a lovely post Harleena 🙂 I’ve lost while commenting with lots of memories in my childhood and dreamings into future, as always.


    • Harleena Singh

      2013-04-29 at 11:00 am

      Hi Mayura,

      Glad you liked the post, and yes, it does follow up the ones on why kid’s don’t listen to their parents 🙂

      Absolutely! Most of my post ideas are related very much to my life, though all that I share isn’t only about my life, but a combination of it with other matter that I research online so that it helps people in some way. In the process of it all, it helps me in more ways than one as it teaches me how to bond better with my kids too – you are spot on there!

      Every parent will have their own way to get kids to listen to them, or they have their own parenting skills. But it helps if we can offer a few suggestion in-case they need help in certain areas – isn’t it? I know I didn’t know a lot of things when I became a parent, nor was I ever online and didn’t have the time either to read about how to go about things, but nowadays parents are more aware about such topics and seek solutions in more ways than one.

      Parenting isn’t easy, but it’s also not all that hard if you know how to go about things. For me, when I became a parent, it was just going from one day to the other and trying the best skills I knew that time with my kids. It might have been wrong too at times am sure, but then I had my mom to guide me through sometimes and I had read a lot of parenting books way back then, so those things helped me. Those who love parenting their kids will make all the efforts to help them bond better with their kids and they do enjoy seeing their kids grow too. 🙂

      Yes indeed, to bond their relationships, parents need to make more of an effort to communicate with their kids. When you listen to your kids, you can easily get kids listen to you because they know you are trying and making an effort to listen to them. Spending more time with your kids is important just as I always say, as the channels of communication always get better with that.

      I know about your dad and the relationship that you both shared, and am sure you are going to be just the opposite of that and spend lots of time and listen to your kids – isn’t it? Using more of yes’s helps to motivate them to do what they are doing, instead of the no’s that stop them to do things on their own. Yes, sometimes when we can’t use yes’s always, no’s are required – but not all the time.

      Going down to the level of kids helps to connect better with them as they feel and take you more of a friend then, which is important I feel. Nice to know that you also enjoying doing that, and I can just about imagine seeing you play with your kids 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and adding more value to the post. As I always say – you are bound to make a wonderful father, whenever the time comes 🙂

  4. Shalu Sharma

    2013-04-27 at 12:13 am

    Very interesting ways to engage the kids and make them listen to you. You have to play at their level and often bribe them into listening to you. Listening to them plays a vital role in all of this. Great suggestions Harleena.

    • Harleena Singh

      2013-04-27 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Shalu,

      Glad you liked the ways to get kids to listen to you 🙂

      Yes indeed, getting down to their level helps parents understand them better, and they too can relate to what’s being said to them by their parents. Listening is, and should always be a two-way process. All of this makes the parent-child bond stronger I feel.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. Hiten

    2013-04-26 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Ah, what a wonderful post, my friend! You included some amazing advice on getting kids to listen.

    I just wanted to share a recent experience I had with two of my nephews, which I felt worked out really well. One is 11 and the other is 6. I get on with both of them a lot. What I was doing was talking to them like they were both adults and as I did they were both really listening attentively, and responding back maturely, too. Even the 6 year old!

    Thank you.

    • Harleena Singh

      2013-04-27 at 5:40 pm

      Hi Hiten,

      Nice to know that you liked the post 🙂

      Ah…that was a lovely example to say all that I wrote in brief! That’s how it all works – if you talk to them and listen to what they have to say too – they do listen to you. It all comes down to the way you put across what you have to say.

      However, I wonder if they listen to their parents too in the same way? I ask this because sometimes kids are very good with everyone else, except their parents!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with all of us 🙂

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How to Get Kids to Listen to You

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