Parenting 101: Teaching Your Kids to Listen

A group of children listening to a woman A majority of kids start displaying non-compliance and hard-headedness at the age of two, as they’re still developing their self-image and exploring their newfound independence. If you find yourself at wit’s end when dealing with your toddler, consider these recommendations to help your toddler learn how to listen:

Remain close and speak at eye level.

Don’t shout or intervene from afar. Make your requests in a calm manner, at eye level, and close to them.

Instead of telling your kid what they shouldn’t do, speak in positive terms to communicate what they should do.

For example, saying “Play nice.” is better instead of “No fighting!” Give directions one at a time and allow your kid to process what you said.

Always make good on your directives.

Tell your kid the consequences, whether negative or positive, in advance. Tell them to “Eat first, then they could play.” or “If you don’t fix your toys, I’m taking them away.” If your kid listens, acknowledge it with a descriptive praise like “Good listening! Thanks for fixing your toys.” to encourage the behavior.

Offer options within acceptable limits.

When your kid is being stubborn, they’re looking for control. Offering options could give your kid some control, but only on certain terms. KidsTown, LLC added that you must state directions or requests as options whenever possible. Instead of saying, “You have to dress up now.” say “Do you want to wear your pants or shirt first?” Likewise, don’t make something appear like an option when it’s not.

Show your kid how to listen.

Show that you’re listening when your kid tells you something. Verbalize whatever feelings they’re trying to express in simple terms.

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Resistant behavior and stubbornness could be tough to accept regardless of age, but responding and reacting with criticism would only make your kid’s behavior worse and could lower their self-esteem. Do your best to stay calm and remember that hard-headedness is a normal yet crucial part of child development.

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