So I’ve been quite honest about the fact that I yell at the kids. A lot. WAY more than I’d like to. I’ve even asked my friend Dr. G for parenting advice on how to stop yelling. She had some great advice, and I even had other moms share their parenting advice on the subject.
And now, I am having another issue that is related to the yelling. I yell at the kids because they don’t listen.
“Ethan, stop bugging the girls”
“Lila please don’t sit on the counter”
“Mia you need to put your shoes away, not leave them in the middle of the floor”
Now if I said these things in my normal-every-day-I-really-am-a-sane-person voice, 90% of the time the kids probably don’t do what I ask. I can say it more than once, and they still ignore the request. But if I say (you know, after asking nicely 3 other times) “MIA YOU NEED TO PUT YOUR SHOES AWAY, NOT LEAVE THEM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR” she’ll go put her shoes away and ask why I always yell at her.
When I go volunteer in the kids’ classrooms, it’s amazing to me that the kids all listen and do what is asked with little to no resistance. Teachers have 30+ students who do what they tell them to do all day long. I have 3 kids at home who I have a hard time getting to do what I say. What do they do differently? What do they know that I don’t? What parenting advice or tips can we get from teachers?
Here are are some tricks teachers use to get kids to pay attention and listen.
Parenting Advice: Get Your Kids To Listen (Without Yelling)
Get Their Attention by Singing, Whispering, and Rhyming
I think that kids hear singing and automatically think ‘fun’. Even with my own kids, if they hear singing they quickly quiet down to listen. Try to sing your request – the kids immediately stop what they are doing to figure out what you are singing. This one works!
Making up silly rhymes to communicate your instructions will always grab kids’ attention. The kids think it’s hilarious when I say “Winner, winner chicken dinner” to announce it’s time to eat.
Whispering will make kids have to quiet down to hear you. And when necessary, I just keep getting quieter until I actually have to whisper in their ears to get them to hear me.
On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!
Kids love challenges, and races are big at our house. I noticed that the girls’ teacher would say things like “Okay, clean up and let’s see who can get back to their seat first!”
Racing can help children learn to hurry and learn time management. For example, much like my kids, maybe your kids hate to clean up. Grab a stopwatch or set a timer, and have them race to see who can clean up all of their toys first. Set rules and standards beforehand so they aren’t just throwing everything under their beds. Make sure you give them a specific time to beat as well.
Once each “race” is complete, have them help you create a chart that shows the results each time your children finish the job. At the end of the week, as long as they don’t exceed the designated time, give them a special treat like a Disney movie with popcorn or extra computer time.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Ethan’s teacher never negotiates or gives in once she gives them a task or sets an expectation. When it’s time for the kids to get to work, she says it once and the kids do it. If they don’t, there are consequences.
How can you do this at home? Let’s say you want your child to do homework. I tell Ethan “In 5 minutes you have to start your homework.” When the five minutes are up, I tell him definitively and matter-of-factly he has to start it. And then I don’t give in or change my mind. I’ve learned that it takes a few tries, but when the kids realize you mean business, this works for almost every situation.
What tips and parenting advice can you share for getting your children to listen?