I whispered under my breath to myself “gah, you can’t even get your kids to listen to you”.
It was a self-deprecating moment as my three-year-old and I were butting heads. It had been a long day and while I thought maybe we were making a breakthrough past her epic tantrum and meltdown, she refused to look at me or listen to a single word I had to say.
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So many little kids are exactly like that though. They withdraw and ignore words…
…because if they don’t listen then maybe it’s not happening.
Or maybe your children are oblivious and you need help reeling them back in.
In every case, connecting and communicating is one of our greatest assets to build meaningful parent-child relationships. But how do you even do it?
Extremely Good Parenting Podcast EP. 007
How to get your children to listen to you
Use your voice intentionally.
The momma means it voice should only come out when mom really does mean it. Reserving stern voices for danger situations and critical moments helps kids not tune you out in the long run.
But your voice has power.
And with power comes responsibility to use it wisely.When you use your kid’s first and middle name in “that voice” even the neighbors know you mean business. And that’s how it should be! So when our kids aren’t listening, our first course of action actually shouldn’t be to use the mom voice.
There are other tools to pull out of the “listen-to-me” bag that over time foster better communication.
It’s the under-used little brother of the stern voice.
But I would argue it more powerful.
It forces the listener to tune in, focus, and really try to understand what is being said. And in the most frustrating of moments and when I knowI have my child’s attention but not fully, whispering usually wins the game.
“Show me your eyes”
It’s the initiating point.
If you want your child to connect with you, to remember what you said, and to not just be a buzzing in their ear, make it a habit to command their attention by first engaging in eye contact.
This little phrase has been huge in talking with our children. And while in moment of discipline and struggle the child normally doesn’t want to freely offer their gaze, if we wait as parents, it’s a meaningful conversation and typically a better teaching moment.
Using a whistle or family sound
We have a little tune our family uses in public to get each other’s attention. And unintentionally, it also became a way that we commanded our daughter’s attention when she was zoned out or simply not paying attention. Read more about our family whistle here.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!