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Getting your Child to Listen

by SSA Bulletin

It's a problem every parent has to deal with. They talk to their son or daughter, whether it's asking about what they did in school that day or asking them to do something. Somewhere, somehow, the message doesn't get through. Either the child just tunes out or merely ignores what's being said. How to solve this domestic communications breakdown? Here's ten easy tactics designed to help:

1. Get your child to talk with you in calm moments. Show that you're curious about his or her interests, so they feel comfortable talking to you.

2. Say what you want. Decide exactly what you want them to do. Adding a positive note helps, such as "After your snack, I want you to unload the dishwasher."

3. Get your child's attention first. Have them turn off the TV or step away from their game. Make sure they face you and use their name. "Joey, you need to ask me first before going to the park."

4. Give choices. Where possible, let the child decide to do what you want. For example, "Do you want to put your toys away now, or would you rather play for another ten minutes?"

5. Have younger kids repeat what you said. Give older kids a written list or have them write down the things you want them to do.

6. Specify positive and negative consequences. "Get your homework done by six, and you can watch TV. If you don't, the TV stays off." That gives the child the freedom to decide.

7. Reward good behavior. Some kids get attention only when they've done something wrong. A hug or a pat on the back now and then gets better results than a lot of scolding. Make kids feel good about doing what they've been asked to do.

8. Stop saying "Don't!" Tell them what they should be doing instead.

9. Avoid reasoning. Smaller kids won't understand your reasons, while older kids may debate each point.

10. Stop nagging. Kids soon learn they can ignore instructions several times before taking them seriously.

Taken from the SSA Bulletin