Need more help to get your child to listen? Read on.
WORDS SAMANTHA TAN
1. Get Their Attention
When your child ignores you or pretends that they did not hear you calling for them, the first thing you have to do is to get their attention. This means making eye contact at the very least. For young kids, kneel down in front of them and make eye contact while making your request. A light touch on the arm or some other positive physical connection is also helpful. For older kids, aim for eye contact and an acknowledgement that they heard you. If you are in different rooms, try not to yell. Instead, ask your child to come to you before you make the request so that you get an affirmation from them.
2. Time for a Time-Out
Putting your child in a short time-out is exactly what you should do if the child begins to throw a temper tantrum or continues to avoid doing what you asked. The time-out can be in another room or in the corner of a room. During this time, no one is to talk to them.
When the time-out is over, tell her to do what you asked.
Don't let it go or they will learn to avoid responsibility by causing an uproar.
A time-out is also a good time for them to reflect on what they have done wrong.
3. Tell Them Why You are Asking
When you make a request of your kids, give them a reason to go with your request. This helps them to see your reasoning and shows them you are not being arbitrary and demanding unnecessarily. By them understanding the rules and reasoning behind the requests, they will be more inclined to behave. While this may not guarantee immediate compliance with your requests, it will show your kids that your requests are reasonable and will also model the importance of using good reasons to motivate behaviour. For example, you can say, “Please put on your shoes now as we have to leave in one minute or we’ll be late to pick your friends up. Being late would be rude and that would not be good manners.”
4. Give Fair Warning of the Consequences That May Follow
Let your children know what will happen if they don't respond to your request. Fair warning is critical because if children know in advance what the consequences will be for breaking a rule or ignoring a request, then they are making a choice about their behaviour.
If they are going to continue to break the rules, then they would have
to bear the consequences. There are no surprises.
After you’ve repeated your request, and given fair warning of consequences, allow the kids a chance to respond accordingly. If they still don't do what you’ve asked, the next step then is to follow through on the consequences you’ve already laid out for them previously. This last step is critical as it will show your kids that you mean what you say. Consistency is key.
5. Reduce Resistance by Presenting Them with a Choice
Providing choices is a useful parenting tool for avoiding behavioural problems. It recognises a growing capability and the right of children to have at least a small measure of control in their own lives. It also helps a child learn to make decisions and express preferences. When a child is unable to make their own decisions, they can begin to use inappropriate behaviours, such as acting out or being disobedient, to demand some control.