The #1 Way To Get Your Child To Listen
Your kids sometimes don’t seem to hear a word you say!
It could be your 5 minute warning that it’s time to leave the park, your heartfelt I love you before they head off to school, and, of course, any kind of scold or reminder.
Sometimes you need your kids to listen. Sometimes you want them to listen. Sometimes you just want to be heard.
You need an easy way to get your kids to listen, since “Yell louder” and “Pull your hair out” haven’t been working.
The big secret can be summed up in one word – CONNECT.
Connect is a shorthand for lots of different ways you can make a personal connection before trying to make an informational connection. You have something to communicate, and you need to open up a clear channel first.
Imagine that you’re chopping veggies for dinner while simultaneously talking on the phone with a friend. If your partner hollers at you from the living room, you might not even hear them. On the other hand, if your partner came into the room, you’d be more likely to notice. If they moved directly next to you and put a hand on your shoulder, not only would you notice them you’d probably stop chopping veggies and perhaps tell your friend to wait a minute. You’d be fully prepared to hear what was said to you.
You can imagine the same dynamic going on with your kids, such as when you holler at them across the playground. It’s not just that they’re ignoring you. They’re BUSY!
You can connect by moving closer, speaking your child’s name, and waiting to be noticed before passing on the important information.
Imagine that you’re busy on a project and your partner walks into the room and tells you you’re doing it wrong. That’s guaranteed to get your defenses up! You won’t appreciate the interruption, and you won’t be receptive to their advice. Instead imagine that you’re working the project together. In the middle of working together, your partner points out something about what you’re doing and suggests a different way. You’re more likely to hear this as helpful.[pullquote]You can connect by moving closer, speaking your child’s name, and waiting to be noticed before passing on the important information.[/pullquote]Now think of a similar situation with your child. What they’re doing may be unacceptable, say, working at their art desk and dumping glitter on the floor. If your first interaction about their art is to jump in and scold them for the glitter, your chances of being truly heard are slim. Your child will hear the intrusion instead of hearing a lesson.
Already being involved in the art project would make it easier to address the mess. Even if you’re not already in the middle of it, you can take a moment to connect. You can sit down near your child and say something about the art project going on.
You might even comment on something positive you can notice about the misbehavior, like It must have been fun to pour that glitter out! This won’t “undermine” you, so push that fear away. It will show your child that you’re connected, and that you can understand what’s going on with them. Then you have that clear channel open for expressing how you’d like things done differently.
Have you ever noticed what makes you want to listen to another person? How else can you use that information to better communicate with your child? Share with me any ideas you have!