By Goodnews Buekor
“No, Jake, you will have to visit your cousin tomorrow. Right now, it’s snowing, and it’s cold outside. Let’s do that tomorrow, okay?” I thought I had just finished talking to my 5-year-old boy for the fourth time. Here he is again, crying that he wants to see Derick, his cousin. I am cut in between yelling at him or just ignoring him.
If you are a parent with kids, this situation is probably not strange at all. Getting kids to listen is something most parents find challenging. Can kids actually listen without you having to yell, threaten or bribe them? Here are five ways, according to experts, to make kids listen while helping you save your pretty voice from yelling.
- Keep your tone in check
Kids also battle with mood swings, and they have a difficult time handling their emotions too. Therefore, yelling at them may not be your best option to make them carry out a certain instruction. Instead of yelling, try addressing the situation more calmly, and they may respond similarly.
“How you say a thing is much more important than what you are actually saying,” says paediatrician Kimberly Churbock, MD. “
- Provide alternatives
Giving your kids options makes them presume they are in charge, which isn’t the case, as they will still not carry out what they first desired.
“Putting choice and will in the hands of kids can give them a sense of confidence and value for their opinion, it also helps them feel less compelled. Even if you’re asking them to do an undesirable task. If your child struggles with bath time, give them the choice of which toy they want to bring into the tub or whether they want bubbles,” says Kimberly.
If your child remains adamant, be careful not to give in by attempting to bribe them. By doing this, they will consent to your demands, but it is only because you bribed them. Instead, set boundaries and be strict with them.
- Make a connection with them
Your kids will ignore you if you stay on the balcony, thundering instructions to your child in the living room. Communication is more effective when there is a connection. Parent educator Pam Leo sums it up perfectly: “The level of cooperation parents get from their children is usually equal to the level of connection children feel with their parents” When our kids feel that we’re tuned into their lives, that we see them and that they matter to us, they’re more likely to listen to what we have to say.
- Crack jokes and make them loosen up
The atmosphere may become too tense when you want your kids to listen to you and get them to do what you want. This fire-brigade method may not produce the desired result. Giving out instructions in a more comic or silly way will not only make your kids comfortable, but they may likely comply to retain that happy ambience. Who doesn’t like peace? “Try saying things in a funny voice, being silly or poking fun at yourself when making requests,” Pam suggests.
- Prioritize comprehension
Sometimes, we can pass across information, but information that is not comprehended is as good as you not saying anything at all. No, don’t assume your kid understood what was said. How can you tell? Making your kid reiterate what was said will make the information sink in better.
“Have your child repeat back your request after you’ve made one to ensure that he understands what you’re expecting. This is a simple way to make sure everyone is on the same page, allow you to clarify if you’re not understood and to ensure that your child actually heard what you were saying,” says Dr Churbock.
Coming to terms with the fact that parenting isn’t a day’s job is one truth we should embrace. However, like every other aspect of our life, we should put in time and effort to make things work. Applying these helpful tips to get your kids to listen will surprise you with how much they can actually cooperate, thus making everyone happy.