“My child just doesn’t listen”. This is one of the top rating complaints parents have about kids. What do you do when you have a child who just will not listen to what you have to say?
In most cases, the answer is pretty straight forward. Practice what you preach. Stop for a moment and think about whether you really listen to your child. Chances are that you are as bad as the child when it comes to listening. Most parents are so caught up in the whirlwind of multitasking that they do not take out the time to really listen to their children. Here are a few ways to listen to your child and get him to listen to you also.
1. Take the effort to get to know what your child really wants to tell you. Giving a half-hearted nod while sending a mail as your child drones on in the background about a new game he had learnt, definitely does not qualify as listening. If you expect your child to give you his whole attention when you are speaking to him, it is only fair that you do so yourself.
2. Stop what you are doing, and give your child your complete attention. Understand clearly what he is trying to tell you. Help him label what he is feeling. For instance you could say ”Oh I see, you are upset because we have to leave the park so soon”. Don’t belittle his feelings by saying there is no reason to be upset; instead comfort him or give him something to look forward to, say an ice cream on the way home.
3. To get your child to listen to you, the primary focus is to lay emphasis on the way you say things to him, your tone your voice, choice of words etc. So think for a moment about what you are going to do, instead of yelling mindlessly; if you want results. Try to sound positive as much as possible and never nag. Ask once nicely, repeat the request firmly, and if he still refuses to listen, take some action. Avoid shouting as much as possible. Knowing that the request will not be endlessly repeated, will nudge him to listen more.
4. As far as possible come to your child’s level, look into his eye and speak. It is more effective than screaming from the next room, as it conveys clearly that you mean business.
5. Be clear and specific when you talk to your child. Tell him what you want him to do in short and brief sentences, do not accuse “You have dirtied the floor again” or expect cooperation ”Shall we clean the room?” The answer will most likely be no. So convey the message that you are not asking whether he can do it, by telling him that he has to do it right now, politely. For instance you could say “Cleanup time…now”.
6. Induce as much fun as possible into your ‘commands’. For instance, you can put up funny notes as reminders in unexpected places, like ‘put me in here’ on the shoe rack. This will make the chore seem like a game
7. Lavish your child with ample praise and encouragement whenever he cooperates. The knowledge that he is appreciated will raise his spirits and set the stage for further cooperation from his end.