The brilliant authors of How To Talk So Kids Will Listen came up with this one. Which I have to say is more of a habit you have to get used to than a simple catchphrase or single word. But it works! And it saves you hours of lecturing and losing your mind.
Georgie, who is almost seven, can get easily distracted especially when it comes to his little brother so I have to constantly remind him to finish whatever it is he was doing. You can imagine how that goes on a busy Tuesday afternoon with a tired toddler hanging off your leg while you’re trying to prepare dinner.
He knows he should hang up his coat when he gets home yet there are times when he’ll toss it on the sofa or chair. That’s the moment I will go into a full-on lecture and use those dreaded words I despise: How many times have I told you….??
So one day I used the one-word wonder: Georgie, coat! I tapped him on the shoulder to make sure he heard me, then pointed to the coat and walked away. Mission accomplished. No shouting, no negativity, no energy wasted.
Other examples: When they’re meant to do the dishes ‘Luke, dishes!’
When they’re meant to make their bed ‘Maria, bed!’
Keep in mind that I do this about ten times a day but at least I’m not shouting or losing my patience.
In this article, written by a homeschooling mum of seven (!), among other ways of getting your kids to listen she also talks about using your body to communicate and not just your words.
So say your kids are arguing over a toy and you can tell there’s no end in sight unless you intervene. Instead of tossing around a bunch of angry words that won’t get you anywhere, take them by the hand and escort them to their rooms or to a spot in the house where they can cool off.
There are many ways to get through to your child when they’re not listening. It’s just a case of finding the one way that works for you and them. The point of finding this way is to avoid anxiety, negativity and bad feelings that can inevitably come from rasing your voice and losing your patience for the millionth time.
What are the ways you have tried and succeeded in getting your children to listen? Please share.
Also: This post on five ways to manage your child’s behaviour.