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5 Tips for Raising a Good Listener

by Tania Cowling | July 12th, 2016 | Behavior, Preschool

3-yearIs your child tuning you out? Do you feel you are talking to the wall? I’ve experienced this many times. Through research and a few “I’ve been there” tips I offer you some simple steps that will help your child pay attention. Here’s to raising a good listener.

Tune Out Technology

It’s foolish to try to carry on an important conversation with your kiddo when he is watching his favorite show on TV. It just doesn’t work. Now, I’m not saying to disallow your preschoolers from ever watching television or playing on the computer, but try to limit the time and tune out distractions during important times of the day. Unplug your preschooler and spend some quality time talking, reading books, and playing games.

Avoid Yelling From Another Room

I have this problem not only with my grandkids, but my grown kids and husband as well. With a large home, you just can’t yell questions from one room to the next and expect the other person to not only hear you, but to understand your requests. Always talk to your child one-on-one and eye-to-eye. Kneel down to your preschooler’s eye level and get her complete focus before talking. With young children it’s best to play “repeat” and ask her to repeat back what you have said so there is no misunderstanding.

Hopefully, You Don’t Tune Out, Too

Children need some respect when they try to communicate with us as well. Don’t be flipping through a magazine or watching a talk show while your youngster is conversing with you. Give him respect and your full attention. Why not set aside a few minutes each day to just chitchat? Talk about your day, how each of you is feeling, and any venting that needs attention. If your child sees that you are a good listener to him, he will learn to become respectful to you.

One Word Reminders Can Be Helpful

Sometimes we can become too wordy with our requests. For example, if your preschool is to feed the family dog daily, then using the word “Dog” maybe helpful to remind your child of his chore versus a nagging sentence. The same goes for emptying the garbage after dinner with a one-word reminder of “garbage” to get the job started. Using this technique is a gentle way to get your preschooler’s attention and engages that sense of responsibility.

If You Don’t Listen, Consequences Occur

When a child habitually doesn’t listen, don’t keep repeating your request. Kids tend to tune out parents, which only set us up for frustration. It’s better to only give directions once (okay, maybe twice) and then let your child face the consequences if she doesn’t comply. For example, tell your preschooler to get dressed and be ready to go to the park (which she loves) in 15 minutes. If she dawdles and isn’t prepared in that time frame, you may have to forego the trip. As disappointing as this is, your child may learn to listen to instructions in order to get the reward next time.

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