Improving Children's Listening Skills

Imroving childrens listening skills. Sometimes it is difficult to get your toddler to listen. Here are some creative ways to teach them.

Do these phrases sound familiar: "How many times do I have to repeat myself," "How many times have I told you," "I am sounding like a broken record," "For the last time"¦"

I have often found myself repeating things to my daughter so many times that I have actually become numb to the fact that there was a simpler way to get her to listen. It is sometimes much easier and faster to repeat yourself than to find a new way to reach your child. We all do it and we all can change that pattern. Here are some common statements I used to say to my daughter and the creative ways I now get her to listen.

"Stop all that racket and listen to what I am saying." This was a big one in my house. Whenever I needed to talk to her, ask her something or have her do something, there would be so much noise from her toys and playing that she could never hear me. The louder I talked, the louder her noise grew until I shouted to shake the walls. Now when I need her for anything, I simply go to her room and stand at the door until she notices me. When she does see me, she usually laughs and smiles, stops playing and waits to hear what I have to say. I always start by commenting on how pretty a picture she drew or ask her about what she was playing. Giving her a positive statement about what she was doing reinforces that what she does in her room is important. This gives her confidence and pride and makes asking her to do something for me that much easier, since she knows she will get the same positive reaction for doing something for me.

"How many times have I told you"¦" This phrase probably bothers me more that it does my daughter, and saying it does nothing more than have her give me a blank stare and tell me a number she thinks I want to hear. Now when I see her doing something she isn't supposed to or she is not doing something she knows she should be doing, we talk. It is much nicer to sit with her and talk about why she was doing or not doing something, than to make a statement which is very demeaning. She reacts positively to our talks and usually will catch herself the next time she is about to do the same thing.

"I am starting to sound like a broken record with you." There are a few things wrong with saying this to a child. First is that my daughter had no idea what a record was, so the statement to her made absolutely no sense. Beyond that, it tells a child that something about you is broken. At least, that is what the child hears. Instead of that phrase I use picture cues. In the morning when it is time to get dressed, my daughter could spend hours putting on her school uniform. She enjoys gazing out the window, she will get distracted by a string or she would lay down and try to go back to sleep. Instead of being that broken record, I decided to try cue cards. We gathered pictures of different clothing, put them on index cards and I had her put them in order to how she would get dressed. Now in the morning we have a race to see who gets dressed the fastest. My daughter usually wins and I don't sound like old vinyl.

There are so many things we find ourselves saying to our children to get them to listen that truly don't work. Most of what the children get from all our upset words is that we don't want to listen to them and what they have to say or do is not important. Bottom line: Listen to your child and talk with them, not at them. Avoid shouting matches. If your child shouts, whisper. If you feel the need to shout, step away and count to twenty and calm down. Above all else, let your child know that no matter what, you love them. A child who is loved does listen. Sometimes it may not seem so, but you will be surprised just how much your child hears and remembers. Loving words, positive comments and happy thoughts. Am I sounding like a broken record yet?

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