It feels like I just came through the other side of the toddler stage with my son and we’re heading into it with my daughter. I like to think that I’m a seasoned pro this time around, but every child is different, right? But as we head into the toddler years again here, I’m working on using a few easy tips for getting toddlers to listen. I thought I’d share and then we can all see how we do!
Getting Toddlers to Listen
I’ll admit that one of the most frustrating things for me when it comes to the toddler stage is the communication. As they become more and more independent, it seems to be more challenging to get them to listen and go along with what I would like them to do. But these simple ideas really help me a lot.
I like to talk. It’s true. So I have a tendency to talk a lot when I want one of the kids to do something. But my time in the classroom taught me that the more specific you can be with kids, the better the results. So when I’m talking to Carrigan, I try to be very specific with the instructions and give just one thing to do at a time. Instead of saying, “Please put your plate in the sink and throw away the trash,” I break it down into separate things. Asking her to put her plate in the sink without any other directions seems to work well!
Give Limited Choices
I always knew to offer choices but to make sure that both options are ones you are comfortable with your child choosing. This works well for things like getting dressed or choosing a snack. As long as you don’t mind if they pick the red shirt instead of the blue one or choose grapes instead of the banana. But keep the options limited, especially with the younger kids. I usually only offer two options.
Talk About the Consquences
Start young with talking about consequences. Make sure the consequences are appropriate for your child and then talk about them. And explain them often! For example, when we get out toys in the play room, I always remind the kids that if they don’t help clean up at the end of the day, we will not get those toys out the next day. It’s taken some time for them to fully understand but it’s definitely helped with making clean up time happen!
Don’t automatically assume that your child isn’t listening to you. Try again and try to rephrase what you’re saying to make sure that it’s not just a understanding issue. This happens a lot around here. I think I’m being really clear or talking about something they know about and really they don’t! It’s not always about not listening! Sometimes it’s about not understanding! So don’t hesitate to try again!
Take a Break
Remember that sometimes we all need a break. If you’re feeling frustrated, your child will pick up on it. Just like kids need a break from time to time — parents need a break. So if getting your toddler to listen seems to be a total failure and you feel yourself getting upset, walk away and take a few moments to yourself. Then you might find it’s easier to come back and try again!
Getting toddlers to listen may take some effort depending on your child’s personality but with some patience you can definitely improve the situation!
Photo Credit: ©Melanie DeFazio / Dollar Photo Club