Why Are My Kids Not Listening?

One of the most common challenges I hear from parents is that their kids are not listening. Do you ever experience that? It’s really frustrating, isn’t it? Here are three tips that might help:

Tip #1: Are you getting their attention (eye contact) when you ask them to do something? If they are not auditory learners (many are not), it literally goes in one ear and out the other. They just don’t hang on to the thought long enough for it to stick. So, be sure you are getting eye contact with your kids. Make sure you have their attention. Be clear with your request. Confirm that they understand. And, lastly, make sure they have the physical and mental ability to do the task at hand.

Tip #2: Are you giving too many tasks at once, or is it too many steps for the age of your child? Sometimes we think it is a simple request for our children to “clean your room.” After all, we clean the whole house. Realize that you have had years of practice and years of developing organizational and sorting skills. Watch to see if your kids go into overwhelm. If they aren’t moving, it may just be too big of a job. All you need to do is break it down into steps. First, have them put all of the blankets on the bed. Then have them put the stuffed animals on the bed. You can move on to clothes and anything else that’s soft. Then, have them pick up all of the books and put those away. Are there shoes or toys that need to get put away? Sort them for your child by having them do one thing at a time (all the Barbies, or all the cars). Yes, it means you need to participate to some degree (depending on the age of your child). However, the upside is you are teaching them a skill. Once developed, they’ll have this skill their whole life. Avoid overwhelm. Get the job done. Break it down.

Tip #3: Do your children have a balance between busy time and down time? Take a look at the level of balance in your home and in each child’s experience. Some kids need more down time than others. Some are procrastinators. Meet each child where they are, and help them understand the value of both accomplishing things and taking time to “smell the roses.” It will be a great lesson for later years.

To get better results with your children, look at how you are communicating with them, how well you are connecting with them, and if there is something else preventing them from complying. Use curiosity and a desire to understand to help resolve any challenges. It makes a huge difference.

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