How to Get Kids to Listen without Yelling

How to Get Kids to Listen without Yelling

How to Get Your Kids to Listen without Yelling

Whether you’re a new parent or a veteran one, you know that yelling usually makes a situation worse – not better – yet somehow it still happens. Sometimes it happens a lot.  You’ve probably had more than your share of moments wondering how to get kids to listen.

When we yell, our kids tune us out.

This escalates the situation.

If they don’t tune you out, then the look in their eyes is heart-breaking. They are scared and unsure what you’re going to do.

Neither scenario is pleasant.

Yelling takes place once we’re extremely frustrated.

Usually, because no one is listening, right?

Right. So let’s talk about how we can get kids to listen so it doesn’t get to the point of yelling.

Leave your ideas in the comments!

Get Your Kids to Listen

How to Get Kids to Listen without Yelling

When it comes to getting children to listen, it’s mostly how you say things rather than what you’re actually saying. However, I’ve found that using positive words instead of negative ones will yield the best results. For example, instead of saying “no running”, say “walk, please”. Or, you can say “walking feet only, please”.

Focus on what you want them to do, rather than what you want them to stop doing. This is especially true with younger children. When you say “no running”, the image in their head will be of running. If you say “walking feet”, the image in their head will be of walking.

Praise, praise, praise! A little praise goes a long way. When I notice that the kids are getting off track, I will offer praise – even if it’s premature. If you see that your little one is getting a little loud, say something like “I’m so proud of you for using your indoor voice! Thank you for being such an amazing listener!” Go way over the top with it, because kids love praise! Using this technique will get your child on the right track to listening, much more than “stop yelling!” would.  You’ll be surprised at how far praise will go when learning how to get kids to listen!

Set limits ahead of time, and make sure they’re known. If you allow 30 minutes on electronics, set a timer for 30 minutes and talk to the kids about it as soon as they start playing. If you have one that is a bit difficult to get off the electronics, it’s a good idea to set a timer for 5 minutes early. Having a “countdown” of sorts sometimes helps kids deal with limits better.

On that same note, make sure consequences are laid out and known ahead of time as well. If you have little ones, you may need to make a chart. Reward charts are great ways to encourage kiddos to listen while using positive reinforcement instead of only focusing on consequences.

Put down your phone. I know. I know. But seriously. On the days when no one will listen, take notice of how often you have been on your phone. That one glance on Facebook that took 45 minutes. That email check that took two hours. Our children want our attention. While they would much rather have positive attention, they will take negative if that’s all we’re going to give them. Be aware.

One last tip I have is to offer options rather than asking questions. Instead of saying, “Will you please pick your toys up?”, try saying “Please pick your toys up”. Instead of saying “Would you like peas with dinner?”, say “Would you like peas or carrots?”. Giving options you’re okay with is a great way to compromise while still getting the response you desire.

At the end of the day, remember: don’t sweat the small stuff. It seems like life is crazy now, but kids grow up so fast!  If you really want to know how to get kids to listen, just stop and think about how your words make them feel, the results will go a long way.

Enjoy every minute of it.

What are some ways you stay calm and encourage listening?


  1. Pratibha

    8 December

    We all know it….
    But generally forget because of our hectic schedule
    Thanks for the reminder

  2. Carolyn

    4 March

    I am NOT a parent. I AM a retired elementary teacher. One thing I learned in teaching is… the best way to get their attention is to lower my voice way down like a whisper. It’s amazing how much they will pay attention to you then. I also want to voice my opinion about something… that something is using a cell phone or tablet when you take your children out to eat. My husband and I go to a famous store to eat breakfast every Monday morning. If it is not a school day it is amazing to see the number of tables with children and parents sitting together. It is even more amazing to see how many of those parents don’t look at or communicate with their children the entire meal. They do communicate when it’s time to leave. (Sometimes they are on the phone and give decorations just by pointing.) Of course there are exceptions to this, some of the adults eating with the children are grandparents, others are paying attention to their children. I am so proud of the parents that I see paying attention to their children that I often stop and tell them that I’m glad they were enjoying their child’s company. If only parents not paying attention to their children could understand that their children want their parents attention so much. Enough of that, thanks for lending me your ear.

  3. Carolyn

    4 March

    Saying silly or funny things when they’re not listening will also get them paying attention. So when you’re talking to them you can just change the subject say your funny or silly thing and continue on. It’s amazing to see how much they pay attention. I think many of us would be surprised to know how much they here. Of course they’re always listening when we tell them to leave us alone or go away or we just don’t want them to listen. I think you all know what I mean by that. Enjoy the kids when they’re kids because once they’re grown there’s no do overs. I need to stop thank you again.

  4. Diana

    29 April

    I would have liked to read this but orange on white is not easy on older eyes.

  5. Samudyatha G

    20 July

    Iam like always yelling at my just 5 year old kid. I feel sorry about it but I can’t help he just takes my patience away ……iam tired …….

    • Christina

      21 July

      Take time for yourself,

      Relax, so you have more patience 

      We need about twenty days to get used to the new things. Children too!


      Try whisper to him/her than yelling (Carolyn’s advice )

      Enjoy his/her company,

      Take your time…

      Give him/her time to use to it, and

      Read Carolyn’s comments too 

      (Ps: We only have one childhood, help him/her live it as wonderful as possible…  xxxx)

  6. Scott

    28 July

    Limits and rewards only work when they are used consistently. Otherwise they won’t count on the rewards and will ignore the limits (or push the boundaries to expand the limits)

  7. Carla Hempstead

    26 August

    The suggestions in the article are great. Please remember that parenting is a hard job! It can oftentimes be overwhelming so we need to take care not to add more. This is good to remember when trying new things. Pick one suggestion and try it for about a week. Adjust to fit you and your family or see if it even works for you. We create good habits this way and children can really benefit from the consistency.

  8. ema

    22 September

    I’m not s mother, but i’m untie for two little niece 2 and 5 years old. . I have to take care ofthem when their parents go to work. . It is true that yelling to kids is worst any kind of situation. Even adults aslo dont like when someone is yelling. .. I try whishper to kids when i ask them to keep their toys back to the busket. .. And it is really sucessfull more than yelling. . After that im really enjoy to whisper at them. . Thay are aslo like me to whisper too

  9. Sausan

    22 September

    During such a difficult stage this advice is so great. So happy to have read this.

  10. Marielle

    11 November

    Great ideas! Thank you for sharing! I have also found that focusing on proximity instead of volume is helpful. If I put an arm around their shoulders talk quietly, sometimes that helps.

  11. Sara

    16 January

    I’m a 2nd grade teacher and mother to 2 young boys and a step daughter. Thank you for the reminders…it’s all good stuff!! It’s hard not to get frustrated but nice to know everyone has these battles!!

  12. I need help bad I work with 3 and the donot list at all

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