Hands down, the biggest complaint that I hear from parents is that their child is not listening to them. Instead of getting frustrated, we need to understand why our children aren’t listening. Here are 4 questions you need to ask yourself to finally help your child listen to you.
- How much listening has your child done today?
Listening is hard work. It requires concentration and mental energy to attend to your surroundings and discern the important messages that are being conveyed. Adults who need to sit in meetings and lectures can commiserate.
Sometimes kids have been listening the whole day at school and when they come home they are tired. If your child has done a fair amount of listening and you are asking them to do some more, you probably will not get the cooperative responses you are looking for.
It is helpful if at the end of the day to cut our children some slack. Make sure they have some down time to refresh themselves, before they have to start listening again.
- When are you asking them to listen?
As we mentioned above, at the end of the day, children may not listen because they have reached their limit. It is also difficult to get children to listen when they are immersed in their own activities. Children can get so caught up in their play, reading, video games or TV and they really honestly don’t hear you.
At these times, it is best if you get down to their eye level, give them a tap on the shoulder before you make any requests.
- What are you asking your child to do?
You want to make sure that you are are asking children to complete tasks that are age appropriate. Children may feel overwhelmed by big jobs that require a lot of steps, cleaning their rooms or the car. They often do not now how to begin or how to proceed. They also do not like to do the boring mundane tasks of life, brushing teeth, getting dressed, or taking baths.
Teaching kids how to clean their room or car, what needs to be done, step by step, can help them. Making the boring tasks fun can also do wonders.
- Is this a behavior issue or something deeper?
What we perceive as non-compliant or strong-willed behavior can also just be a child struggling to listen. Children with auditory processing issues and other language disorders have a harder time than other children but modifications to the home or classroom can improve their listening skills.
It is not easy to help our kids listen, but we can do it. We just need to take it one step at a time.