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3 Steps to Get Your Kids to Listen to You

Every parent knows the frustration of calmly asking their children to do something only to be ignored the first 3 or 4 times until you end up raising your voice to get their attention.  It’s a moment we don’t feel proud of as a parent and worst of all, kids grow accustomed to this routine.  Children push limits and when they don’t listen and we lose our cool, kids learn they don’t really have to listen until their parent gets frustrated, nags or raises their voice.  So how do we break this pattern and get your kids to listen to you the first time?

Well, experts suggest following this easy to remember 3 step formula: “AID”

A:  Attention
I:   Instruction
D: Directi

Attention: Get your child’s attention before you ask them to do anything.

If they are watching TV, get between them and the box.  If they are across the school yard, go to them. You need to be right beside the child.  If they are small, get down to their level and look them in the eye.

Instruction: Once you have your child’s attention, give the instruction.

Don’t ask, “Are you ready for dinner?”, say, “It’s time for dinner”. It is also a good idea to keep things simple.  Don’t go into a long description of what you want, say it with one word… ie want them to clear the table – simply say “plates”.

Direction: You are right beside your child. So, if they don’t listen, now is the time to direct them to do the behaviour.

“Are you turning off the TV, or am I?” “Are you coming to dinner on your own or with my help?”

When we ask things once and expect our kids to follow through the first time, we are teaching them a new habit.

Important to Remember…

Do not ask your children to do something unless you are right there to ensure that it will happen the first time. This is especially important for parents with an infant and an older child. Too often, we repeatedly ask the older child to do something while we are changing the baby’s diaper or otherwise occupied or distracted. But the older child has learned in those moments we cannot enforce our requests, so it falls on deaf ears.

This sounds like a hassle, and it does require extra effort up front. However, it stops the energy drain and frustration that comes from nagging incessantly and it teaches your kids to respond the first time. Once you’ve changed the habit, you can experiment with how far you need to be from your child when you give an instruction.   Want more great tips for this issue – read “How to Talk so Kids will Listen” by Adele Faber, a favorite of parents!