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How to Get a Toddler to Listen?

How to get a toddler to listen

Just like us grownups, we will not always listen, the same goes with the toddlers. They require you to teach them to pay attention first. You will find yourself repeating something many times or even start counting down to punishment. What you are doing is teaching your child not to listen until you have repeated something many times before. This is the child’s way of getting your attention. Teaching your toddler to be a good listener should give him/her positive responses. This should also help the toddler to be more alert to danger and learn more effectively. This means that you two will get along better, and the toddler will get along better with other people.

The simple strategies we listed below will help you get your toddler to listen better:

1. Reading to your toddler

One easy way to improve your toddler’s listening skills is by reading to them aloud. You can use silly voices or emphasize some of the phrases and words just to get their attention. You would want to keep it fresh with the reading material, you don’t want your toddler to get bored. Reading new stories will get your toddler’s attention because he/she wants to find out what will happen in the story. Some books are written especially for teaching kids to listen.

2. Getting on your child’s level

Instead of squatting down, you can pick up your toddler, which will allow you to look into his/her eyes and grab their attention. Another thing you can try is sitting down next to your toddler while he/she is eating. This way, there is a greater chance they will listen to you.

3. Eat together as often as possible

Nowadays, it gets really hard to find time for the whole family to sit down and talk together. This is why you should use the mealtimes as much as possible. If there is no way to do this every single day, you can set one day in the week when your entire family will sit down, share a nice meal and talk to each other. This way, your child will see his/her parents listening and interacting and will get a chance to participate as well.

4. Try to talk as clearly as possible

When you talk to your toddler, make sure you are clear, simple, and authoritative. There is a huge chance that your toddler will lose attention if you bang on about something. Stop with too much explaining and go straight to the point. This way, the toddler will understand more clearly, and he/she will be more motivated to listen. If possible, do not phrase something as a question if there isn’t a choice to be made. “Clean up your toys” will have more impact on the child than “Would you like to clean up your toys, honey?”.

5. Stay behind your words

Be as clear as possible with what you are saying, and don’t make promises or threats which you won’t keep. If you tell your toddler he/she can have water with the lunch, don’t change your mind later and give him/her soda. Your partner must also share the same rules with you. That way, the toddler will feel more secure. Your follow-through needs to be speedy. When you are giving some urgent instruction, you will not repeat yourself, so share the same rule about all instructions. When you instruct your child to put his/her glass on the table, simply say, “Put your glass on the table.” If the child doesn’t listen, guide him/her to put the glass on the table. This way, you will show your child what exactly you are asking him/her to do.

6. Emphasize your message

It will be helpful to back up your words with some other cues, especially when your toddler is doing some other activity. Therefore, when you say, “It’s time for bed!” support this with something visual like switching the lights on and off or some physical cue like putting your hand on the toddler’s shoulder. A demonstration would also work. You can steer the toddler towards the bed.

7. Don’t hesitate to give warnings

When your toddler is deeply involved with playing with his/her toys or with a friend, give them an advanced notice when a change is about to happen. Your toddler is too young to understand the concept of time, so there is no point in giving them a five or ten-minute warning. For example, if you are ready to leave the house, tell him/her, “When you are done playing with your friend, put your shoes on.”

8. Your instructions need to be realistic

Telling your toddler to put away the toys, he/she might look around the room and think, “There is no way I’m going to do that”. What you can do instead is give your toddler a manageable and specific task, something like “Let’s put the blond doll away.” After the toddler finishes that task, you can go to the next one, something like “Well done. Now let’s put the Legos away.”

9. Motivate you, toddler

Even though yelling might get results, most children will get distressed, and it won’t be fun for anybody. There is a bigger chance of your toddler responding better if you use confident good humor. You can try using a song or silly voice when you want to deliver a message to your child. You can stress all the benefits of getting the job done well and quickly. You can offer an award after the child does what you asked him/her to do. The award does not have to something material; it can be nice praise. Your toddler will listen to you when you show affection, good humor, and trust. This way, the toddler will know that he/she is loved and special for you. That is also very important when you have to be firm. The authoritative and straightforward instructions have more power if you accompany them with a smile or a hug. That is the way your toddler will learn that listening and paying attention is valuable.

10. Setting a good example

Your child learns from you, so if you are a good listener, the child will see that and be a good listener as well. Make sure you are not listening to your child as respectfully as you would some adult. Look at the child while it is talking, let him/her finish without interrupting, and respond politely. This can be difficult when you are doing a chore but still, try your best not to turn your back while the child is talking. Your behavior is very important because your toddler will copy you. So, if you want your toddler to listen to you, then you have to listen to him/her as well. They hear and see everything we do, even when you are not paying attention. That is why when you talk to your partner, other kids, friends look them in the eye, show respect, and don’t interrupt them. Your responses need to be polite and don’t talk over people.

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