Tips to get your kids to listen to you

February 12, 2023

Are you tired of constantly having to repeat yourself to your kids? Do you feel like you're constantly nagging them to do things, only to be met with eye rolls and complaints? Getting kids to listen can be a challenge, but there are some simple tips and strategies you can use to improve your child's listening skills.

  1. Be clear and direct. When giving instructions or asking your child to do something, make sure to be clear and direct. Use specific language and avoid giving long, complicated instructions. Kids typically can only remember 1 or 2-step instructions in the early years. For example,  “please pick up your coat and hang it on the rack.” is a clear, direct two-step instruction. 
  2. Use visual routines for multi-step instructions. Whether it's your morning routine or getting dressed, a visual routine can be a game changer for getting kids to listen and follow instructions. Search “visual routines' on the activity tab of the Earlybird app for a bunch of print-and-go visual routines to make your days easier. 
  3. Give your child your full attention. When you're talking to your child, make sure to give them your full attention. This means putting away your phone, turning off the TV, and making eye contact. This will show your child that what they're saying is important to you and encourage them to listen and engage with you.
  4. Use positive reinforcement. Instead of punishing your child for not listening, try using positive reinforcement to encourage good listening skills. This could be as simple as praising your child when they follow instructions or “catching them being good” by making a big deal when they do what you asked the first time.
  5. Set expectations and boundaries. It's important to set clear expectations for your child's behavior in different situations. Let your child know what you expect from them and what the boundaries are. For example, you could say, "At the park, we have to play safely. If you aren’t able to listen and play safely, we will have to go home so that you don’t hurt yourself or others.” 
  6. Be a good role model. Kids learn by example, so if you want your child to be a good listener, you need to be one too. This means listening to your child when they speak, showing them respect, and being patient when they have something to say. By being a good listener yourself, you can set a positive example for your child and help them develop their own listening skills.

By following these simple tips, you can help your child become a better listener and make family life a little easier for everyone. Remember to be patient, consistent, and positive, and your child will soon be listening to you like a pro.

For more social-emotional parenting tips you can take our Managing Feelings and Building Emotional Intelligence workshop on the Earlybird app. Or check out our listening social story, which you can find on the activity tab in the app. Find the *FREE* parenting app in the Apple app or Google Play store.

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