The Best Ways to Get Kids to Listen Without Grumbling

Is it possible to force a child to do what you asked him to do the first time you asked him to do it? Some people (like me) would say Ha-ha-ha! Good! As someone who struggles daily with congressional-level stall tactics of three kids under the age of 10, this notion seems preposterous. But, despite all the evidence to the contrary, I want to believe.

However, according to parenting experts, it is possible. If your current system of task description, reminder, repeating this reminder 3-10 times, then the binding is not working, this is a sign that something is wrong with the way the requests are executed. Here are some ways parents can stop constantly reminding and get their kids to listen.

Connect first

Children who feel connected to their parents are more likely to listen and respond to their requests. During times of downturn, when you have nowhere to be, take the time to laugh, show affection, and play – on their terms – to build a relationship. When you have to go out the door, lean over and make eye contact with your child. Touch, smile, and speak in a neutral tone when asking. (We know this isn’t always feasible when no one is ready and the bus arrives in five minutes, but if possible, contact your child before barking orders.)

Try to whisper

Sometimes children hear us say the same thing so many times that it becomes background noise. Especially if these things were said in an annoyed voice that bordered on screaming. Before you reach the boiling point that makes you scream, pull the children close to you and whisper a request. Not only will this get their full attention, but it will also seem playful, and may even make them want to participate.

Limit the number of requests

Have you ever heard a video of you talking to your kids and thought, Blech, this person sounds annoying? Same. Listen to yourself throughout the day. Track how many times you correct, direct, or order your children to do something. This is probably more than you think and will help you understand why they stopped listening to you. Reduce the amount of verbal corrections and requests you make. Leave it for the most important tasks and either make the small tasks easier or create visual reminders for them. Speaking of which…

Create visual reminders

As parenting educator and Good News About Bad Behavior author Katherine Reynolds Lewis told Vox , showing kids what’s about to happen (or “making the invisible visible”) and then getting them to participate can be an effective method of encouraging participation. In addition to assigning tasks to children, Lewis suggests that parents ask their children what skills they are interested in learning. Write everything down (including pictures for kids who read before reading) and let visual task snapshots make the most of the reminders.

keep it short

Kids don’t do well with long requests. (Who really does this?) Instead of long explanations, lectures, and shame about “they always put things off until the last minute,” keep reminders short and sweet. “Teeth!” “Shoes”. – Prepare a snack, please.

keep it light

If possible, add playfulness to your communication. Instead of “We should put on your shirt now ,” hide the shirt (in an obvious place) and ask the child if he can find it. (Or some other similar time-consuming stupidity.) Using non-verbal cues can also be effective, such as posting notes that say, “I’m sad because I miss my friends!” on clothes that are scattered on the floor, not in a basket.


It’s not pleasant to be interrupted when you are completely absorbed in the matter. Instead of expecting kids to immediately finish the Minecraft dungeon they’re focused on, give them 10 and 5 minutes’ notice so they won’t be so surprised when they need to rip off.

Do the job with them

We know that at any given moment you have 287 competing cases and want your kids to just do it themselves by a certain age. And they will get there in due time. But sometimes a little help or modeling goes a long way. Do the task with them – arrange toys side by side, pack snacks together and fold laundry together, rather than expect them to do it successfully and on time alone.

Do a few things of your choice

Some things, such as brushing teeth, bathing and cleaning clothes, are duties that a child must perform whether he wants to or not. Others are doing what they love, like playing football or learning to play the piano. When a child asks to participate in an activity they enjoy, state the expectations and implications of that choice before enrolling. (For example: homework right after school on practice days, no TV on game days on weekends, and piano lessons 3-4 times a week.) When they lament their responsibilities (and try to channel their frustration on you), remind them about their choice. (And that you can pull them out at any time.)

Let your child experience the natural consequences

When my husband is home in the morning at school, we usually take turns saying things like : Have you brushed your teeth? Is your snack ready? Is what you are currently doing productive? Are you still without socks? Sometimes we as parents need to do less so that our children can experience the natural consequences of their choices. If they decide to mess around with fidgets instead of getting their backpack ready, they may get flustered and cry when they have to drag their butt to catch the bus. And that may be a good thing, as they understand why it’s better to manage your time wisely.


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