How to Teach Your Child to Listen
For a friend’s baby shower, the host asked everyone to write down their most important advice for a new mom. That took some thinking, but I said, “To be consistent. Mean what you say and follow up on it.” While this is difficult when the kids are young and learning, taking advantage of training opportunities when the kids are little saves a lot of stress when they are older.
I was reminded of this the other day. My girlfriend’s little boy is walking at 9 mos. and everyone is scurrying around moving stuff out of his reach. I reminded her that if she moves everything, then he will never learn that some things shouldn’t be touched.
The key is to leave training opportunities in place, but remove the dangers and things that matter. For instance, my antique teapot is being moved out of reach as I baby proof my home.
I have other items on that shelf that may be tempting for a baby to pick up, but I’ll leave them as an opportunity to teach that boundaries do exist. He will learn that things on those shelves are not for children.
“No” Isn’t Always the Best Word
As mom’s we are quick to say “No” when we want our children to stop doing something, but that isn’t always the best world. It doesn’t always convey what we really mean. For instance, if your child is running toward the street and you shout “No” it doesn’t really mean what you want it to mean. Instead, say what you mean. “Stop!”
Don’t Count to 10
I don’t know when the count to three or count to 10 thing started, but it is not a good approach to teaching kids to listen. Instead, it teaches them that you don’t mean what you say until your count to 10 and then and maybe then they will have to listen.
Consequences: Mean What You Say
Don’t make idle threats. Mean what you say when it comes to consequences. For instance, if you tell your child they will lose their video game privileges for a week, you need to actually stick with that consequence even on day three when they are driving you nuts and the easy thing would be to let them play video games to get out of your hair.
What it comes down to is training your children that you mean what you say. You either do that or your train them that you don’t really mean what you say most of the time. The result is they don’t listen.
Photo credits: emrank