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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