1. Model good listening.
2. Avoid “listening stoppers.” Three words: “You,” “If” and “Why” said at the beginning of a direction can frequently cause a kid to go on automatic tune-out.
3. Attention first, then talk. If your kid is not listening, first get her attention and make sure she’s looking at you before you speak.
4. Talk eye to eye. Give your request when you’re eyeball to eyeball. You’re more likely to have your child’s full attention.
5. Lower your voice and speak slower.
6. Tailor your directions to your child’s attention span and cognitive abilities.
7. Be clear. Make sure you tell your child exactly what you want him to do.
8. Be short and sweet. Limiting your request to fewer words also helps.
9. Tell, don’t ask. Be sure you don’t phrase your request as a question or a suggestion.
10. Get active. If time is of the essence or your child needs you to “jump start” him into action, don’t say anything. Just gently grab his hand and take him to where you want him to go.
11. Give a little leeway. Interrupting an involved child can lead to resistance. Wait until you see your child is a little less engaged in the task. Then say your request.
12. Expect compliance. Use the parenting techniques above, but also expect your child to listen the first time. Walk over to him, say the request firmly and then no more reminders. If he doesn’t obey then apply the consequence. (See below).
13. Allow consequences to kick in. If you’re sure your child has heard the request and you’ve given directions set at your child’s listening capabilities, then it is time for a consequence.
14. Rethink your relationship. Is the child is blatantly choosing not to listen to you? If so, this is a matter of noncompliance or disrespect.
15. Get a hearing check. No kidding! If you notice your child has repeated listening problems, don’t overlook a possible hearing problem. Talk to your medical provider.
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