12 Ways to Talk so your child will listen

12 Ways to Talk so Your Child Will Listen

Teachers & parents can get into immense power struggles with children. The common complain is that “the children are not listening”.

The most important part of disciplining a child is learning how to talk with them. Children love simplicity and it is important to connect with them first!

Here are 12 powerful tips around the subject:


1. Connect Before You Instruct

Squat to the level of the child’s eye and engage with them eye-to-eye. This will get your child to focus. Say ‘Hannah, I need your eyes’ or ‘Sam, I need your ears’ Your eye contact or voice should be enough to connect and not intense or controlling.


2. Use Your Child’s Name

Start your request with the child’s name, “Mary, will you please…”


3. Stay Brief

Use just one sentence. If you keep saying too much, your child will become ‘Parent-deaf’ or ‘teacher-deaf’. Too much talking is just never appreciated and in my opinion – a big mistake.


4. Use Simple Instructions

Always use short sentences. When your child gives you a far off look, like they are looking through you and not at you – it’s a BIG sign that they are not interested and you are no longer being understood. And if that happens – don’t complain that your child is not listening to you.


5. Ask Your Child to Repeat What You Requested

If your child cannot repeat the request back to you then they have not understood you. What you have said was maybe too long or too complicated.

Make your request simpler and try again.


6. Make an offer to your child. Something that they cannot refuse

It is pretty easy to reason with even two or three year olds. You just need to make an offer like, “Change your pyjamas and I will tell you a story” or ‘Let’s shower and you can wear your favourite t-shirt”. They are then more likely to do what you tell them,


7. Avoid Negative Words

Our brain is unable to process negative words. This has been scientifically proven too. So, instead of “no running,” try: “We walk inside. We may run outside”


8. Begin your Instruction With “I want.”

Some children dislike taking orders. So instead of saying “Get down”, say “I want you to get down now”. When you say it this way, they are more likely to comply.


9. Use “When…Then.”

“When you have brushed your teeth, then we’ll begin the story.” “When you finish your work, then you can watch TV.” “When,” implies that you expect obedience. There is no choice. Using ‘If’ instead of when, implies that your child has a choice.


10. Action First, Words Later

Instead of shouting, “Turn off the TV, it’s time for dinner!” walk into the room where your child is watching TV, join in with your child’s interests for a few minutes, and then, during the break, have your child turn off theYOU’RE Your making an effort to go to your child shows that you’re serious about your request.


11. Never Ask “Why did you do that””

Even we as adults will find it difficult to answer such a question. If you want to have some understanding about your child’s behaviour, just say “Let’s talk about what you did”. This opens up the conversation in a different way.


12. Tone Down Your Voice

If your child is angry, the louder your child gets, the softer you tone your voice. Don’t question anything. Let them vent their anger and you simply say “I understand how you feel”or “Can I help?”


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