Today we take on one of the toughest issues of all: getting our kids to listen to us.
This is something every parent deals with and in recent weeks I’ve been asked about it more than once.
Stephanie says “they seem to have come to me without the ability to listen;” Jocelyn says she struggles with “kids not listening and obeying the first time I ask (or the first ten times)”…
Is this you? Do you find yourself standing in the kitchen sometimes, with your son or daughter in the next room, and your voice is getting louder and louder and you’re clenching your fists and rolling your eyes… And still you’re not getting the response you need?
Well then, today’s episode is for you.
So – what CAN we do? How can we get our young kids to listen to us the first time we call them?
I’m starting with what not to do…
Lots of parents, when they are frustrated enough, choose the spanking route… Please don’t.
It may solve your problem in the short-term, but it teaches the wrong lessons (that violence solves problems; that the bigger person is right; that your kids are “bad.”)
I’ll address spanking – why it doesn’t work and what to do instead – in an upcoming episode, so stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, here’s how you can get them to listen:
1) Go to where they are. Nobody listens from two rooms away (at least, not the first time.)
2) Get down on their level. We’re going for efficiency here; kids are more likely to listen when we are not standing over them in a frightening or threatening posture.
3) In as few words as possible tell them what you need them to do:
“You need to put the blocks down.”
“You need to come to the table now.”
Sounds easy enough, right? (I know – believe me, I do know – how difficult this can be.)
It works, especially if you can do the following:
No matter how angry or frustrated you are, keep your body language and your tone even and non-dramatic.
Save the yelling for emergencies, and instead make your voice quieter and pitch it lower as you ask your kids to do whatever it is you need them to do.
When my voice gets really quiet, that’s when my boys know I’m really angry… Plus, it forces people around you to listen more, when your voice is quieter.
This is what works. Applied consistently, kids get the message that “this is how the game is played now” and they love it, because it’s not threatening, it’s not loud, and it provides a consistent structure.
They will not, however, SAY that they love it.
They will say they dislike it, you are making them do stuff they don’t want to do!
But kids need consistent limits, and when these limits are applied in the way outlined in today’s episode, everyone is happier.
If you’re having trouble implementing this strategy – join the ninja parenting community. I help people figure this stuff out in there, and very specific to today’s episode I have a course module outlining my 5-step formula for “what to do instead of spanking.”
Click here to learn more about the community.
If you’re struggling with the idea of chaotic weekday mornings, Click here to sign up for the FREE Streamline Your Mornings challenge! We’re taking the whole first week of September – Monday the 4th-Friday the 8 – to figure out how to make those mornings better. All week you’ll get a daily email sharing that day’s challenge; you’ll also get access to a Facebook live ask me anything in the We Turned Out Okay private Facebook group!
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