One of the most common complaints parents have is that their children do not listen. Non-compliance is especially common in younger children who may have shorter attention spans as it is. While it can be very frustrating for you as a parent, often it’s not that the child doesn’t want to listen to you. You just need to learn the right tips to help improve listening skills in your child.
The most important parent tip to remember is to be consistent with whatever you do to teach your child listening skills. When you are not consistent, you send mixed messages to the child about what you expect and also about what will happen to them as a consequence of not listening.
Here are some additional tips to improve listening:
• Always stay calm- while it’s sometimes easier said than done, remaining calm will get you a lot further with your child. Screaming or losing your cool will make it more difficult for your child to listen and it also sets a bad example. You can be calm and firm at the same time and with practice, you’ll learn to master this.
• Give lots of praise for good listening- when your child does show the good listening skills you want from them, be sure to give a lot of praise. Respond to the positive behavior so that it continues.
• Be specific- when giving directions or instructions to your child, always be as specific as possible. Tell your child the behavior you want to see from them and also the time frame in which you want it to be done. Instead of saying “clean your room”, you should be specific like “pick up your blocks and put them away before dinner”.
• Make eye contact- don’t give instructions from the other room or from across the room while you’re doing something else. Stop and make the time to make eye contact with your child when you are telling him something.
So often parents will say, “Why do I have to tell you so many times?” The real person you should be asking this is yourself. Why are you asking so many times? You should stop whatever else you are doing and give your child crisp and clear communication. If he doesn’t do what you ask, then you should provide immediate follow through of the consequences. You should also be sure to keep the consequences short. Too much negative response will just overwhelm the child anyway, making him feel he can never do anything right.
Big consequences don’t make any bigger difference in the behavior of your child and they actually make it harder for you to follow through with the discipline. Keep it simple and keep it consistent and you are sure to see results. Don’t allow negotiations when it comes to the tasks and the consequences.
Now that you have these tips to improve your child’s listening skills, you are ready to start using them in your daily life. If this is something new you are beginning with your child, you will need to give it some time to become habit for you and the child but once it does, you’ll find their listening skills improve by a lot. This is not just good for your benefit but also because it teaches fundamental skills that your child will carry with him into adulthood.