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!
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?