You ask your kids to do something and they don’t… frustrating, right? Today’s video has tips on how to get your child to actually do what you say. Click below to watch.Rather read than listen? Click here.
Dana Obleman: Hi, I’m Dana. Today I want to talk about probably the second most popular question I get from parents, and that is, how do I get my kids to listen. That’s an interesting way of putting it. Because so many people email me and say, “My kids won’t listen, they won’t listen to me.”
The truth is they are listening. Unless they’re actually hearing impaired, they’re hearing you. They can listen. The frustrating part for you is that they’re not doing what you’ve asked them to do. That’s a little bit of a mind shift in that your kids are listening, they are just not doing.
Change that focus a little bit, and I think it’ll help alleviate some of the frustration you’re having around this. Now, I’m going to give you some tips here today to help with this. I mean, let’s be honest people, there won’t be a child on earth who will happily do whatever you tell them to do every day of the week. End of story.
They are just not going to do it. There are some ways to help. Number one is you need to be present. That is a tough one when you’re trying to get kids out the door and you’re up in your bedroom and they’re down in the TV room, and your hollering the downstairs for them to get ready. That’s not as effective. That’s easy to tune out.
Think about it, if your spouse is at hollering at you from across the house, that’s kind of easy to just ignore it and think, “well, he’ll come and tell me in face to face if he really needs it.”
You need to get present. Go into the room, turn off the TV if they’re watching TV or make them pause their game or whatever they’re doing so they have your attention, and get them to look at you as you speak. Ask for what you need, and then get confirmation.
You will know that they heard you if they say, “OK mom.” or, “Yes, mom.” That takes some coaching. I’ll still have to occasionally say to my children, “Please say yes mom.” or, “I heard you mom.” or, “I’m doing it mom.” So that I know that they’ve heard me. So that I don’t have to keep repeating myself.
Tip number two is to wait for the response. If I’ve asked my kids to go clean up the kitchen for example and they say, “Yes mom.” Well, now I want to actually see them put that into action. I give them, let’s say five seconds to make the decision to turn off the TV and go clean up the kitchen, and if they don’t then there needs to be some sort of a consequence.
Still again my children are a little bit older than yours most likely, but if I say, “That’s one.” If they don’t respond to what I’ve asked them to do, and I say, “That’s one.” They jump up and get moving. Because they know the next thing out of my mouth is a consequence.
I mean it still works with my own kids to give them a time out. They very rarely get one anymore, thank goodness. When they were young, I used time outs all the time. If I get to two, you’re going for a time out. That’s a consequence to the behavior.
The mistakes that I see a lot of parents make is that they’re very irregular with their consequences. Sometimes it’s after one morning. Sometimes it’s after five. I have found that the clearer the consequence is, the more effective they become. That’s one. Next time I have to say it, it’s a consequence.
I really don’t believe in more than one warning. I believe children are intelligent little human beings. They understand that they’ve been given a warning and the next thing if they don’t respond it’s a consequence.
You don’t need to give them three. That’s too many, because most kids will wait until you get to the third warning before they respond.
You can also set up some positives around this. If you’ve got a real tricky area, and usually it’s the morning rush, getting kids out of the house on a timely manner is tricky for a lot of people.
To set up some positivity around this and say, “listen, if we can get out the door by eight a.m. every day this week, on Friday we’ll have a special dinner, or we’ll go to a movie, or we’ll have some sort of reward around that.”
If you’ve got young ones, again you can set up really clear easy rewards even with a two year old, and say, “listen, if you can get your shoes on by yourself I will give you a blank.” You’re just trying to create some positivity around what can be a very negative experience.
Rewards don’t last forever, don’t panic. You wont still be giving them a cookie every time he puts his shoes on when he’s 15 years old. It’s just basically to get the ball rolling to set a tone around a behavior, and then eventually it just kind of fades out on it’s own, don’t worry too much about that.
Let’s just recap. Get present, wait for confirmation, give one warning, and then consequence. It’s that simple. Yelling is not effective. Very few children respond well to yelling. What can happen then is your child will start waiting for yelling.
They know when you ask nicely you didn’t really mean business and they’re going to keep sitting there. Raising your voice slightly but that’s not really mum’s mad voice yet. I’m going to wait.
Until you go to that yelling voice that gets a response. Then you become a bit like Charlie Brown’s teacher…
No one is listening to you ever unless you’re yelling.
Again that’s not a pleasant way to start your day or live your life or makes everybody feel grumpy and cross. Yelling, just scratch that. That’s not going to be effective.
I hope that helps. Thanks for watching today. Sleep well.
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