Are you fed up with your toddler’s lack of listening skills lately?
You aren’t alone.
You can only ask nicely so many times before you completely lose your ever-loving mind.
Toddlers are awesome like that.
We all want our kids to respect and listen to us. We dream of them doing what we say the very first time we ask and doing it with a smile or an enthusiastic “okay, Mom!”
But how can we get the results that we want?
Well, it’s easier than you think.
Below I will share my best tips on how to get your toddler to listen better.
I’ve received so many reader questions on this topic so I’ve decided to share 4 of them along with my answers all in one post!
How to Significantly Improve Your Toddler’s Listening Skills
Hello! My almost 3-year-old is not listening! We have to ask him to or not to do things multiple times & usually it ends in yelling, timeouts and/or spankings. He acts civilized in public (doctors, dentist, haircuts, etc) but he is the opposite at home & at daycare. It’s a constant struggle! My husband and I are completely exhausted with the constant battles! How do we regain peace?
I’m so sorry to hear that. Toddlers are tough! So basically when you’ve gotten to your breaking point (yelling, feeling frustrated), it means that you’ve given him too many chances. It also tips me off when you say you have to ask him multiple times. One time and follow through. It’s super exhausting but he will catch on quick that you mean what you say and will consistently follow through.
So if you tell him to go get his shoes on, and he says “no” or doesn’t go within a reasonable amount of time, then say “I need you to get your shoes on. I can help you.” and just guide him over to his shoes and help him get them on. It’s not doing it FOR him but rather showing that your demand is not negotiable. Only ONE chance, then follow through.
Key here is to stay calm and unfazed. This will take a lot of willpower but he can’t see that his behavior gets a reaction out of you! He’s testing his limits. If he sees the reaction, he’s going to continue. It doesn’t mean you need to use a fake sweet voice, but instead just say it neutral like you’re the CEO of a company speaking to one of your employees- kind and firm.
That’s a trick that has always helped me get the right tone.
How to help my 3-year-old to listen!! She pushes limits like crazy. This evening I said that’s close enough (to the oven) and she took one step further!!
Unfortunately for us, she’s just doing her job. In that specific situation, I would give her one chance, show her what you want her to do, and reveal what will happen if she doesn’t do it.
So after she takes the one step further, take her hand, move her to the spot she’s allowed to stand, and tell her “I need to keep you safe. Either you stay back here, or I’ll have to take you out of the kitchen” Follow through every time. She’ll catch on that you mean business!
If she does this a lot when you cook, try putting some painters tape on the floor to show how close she can go. She has to stay behind the line or she gets removed from the kitchen.
To prevent, try involving her in the cooking! It’s a huge pain in the butt but I find my toddler does so much better when I give him something to “help me with” while I cook. I usually give him a bowl and some cooking utensils and tell him to make imaginary cupcakes or something if I don’t actually want his help with the real food haha.
What do you do for not listening and keeping your cool when dealing with these threenager tantrums?! I feel like all I do is yell. But by the 18th time of me asking him to do something, I just have a really hard time maintaining my composure.
Don’t give him that many chances. Tell him once and then follow through. So if he doesn’t do it after the first time you give the direction, then tell him “Jackson, I need you to get your shoes on. I will help you.” Then follow through and help him get his shoes on. This will show him that he doesn’t get to ignore you 18 times and get you all upset. It will be done right away and you will make sure of it.
And like other people mentioned, there are little things you can do to try and prevent the “not listening” in the first place like going over to him and getting down at his eye level to give the direction. This way you already have his full attention so he can’t just ignore you.
Toddler isn’t listening when I tell her to stop or knock it off. She will use me as a human jungle gym for hours. We try going on walks and doing other activities together but she gets into silly mode and won’t stop when asked gently several times. Then I finally lose my patience and yell which I try really hard not to do.
Ask once then take immediate action. So if you ask her to stop climbing on you and she doesn’t listen the first time, then immediately remove yourself or block her from doing it. Stay calm (easier said than done) and don’t give her a reaction. That’s what she’s looking for.
When she’s not in silly mode, talk to her about it. Tell her your expectations and then play a game to practice.
For example you could do a stop and go game with tickling. Start tickling her and then you yell STOP! Then stop tickling. Then you say GO! And then start tickling again. Keep modeling this and then ask her if she wants to be the Stop and Go Master. Then you’ll want to obviously switch it so when she’s tickling you, you’re the one saying stop and go and when you’re tickling her, she gets to say stop and go.
You could do this with other things besides tickling just to drive the point home.
Do You See the Common Threads?
I thought it would be helpful to use four examples in this post because then you can really see the common threads or strategies used for similar situations. Each question was a little different yet the same tools were recommended.
Let’s take a look at the common threads amongst all of the answers:
- Take action immediately (one chance then follow through)
- Go over to your child and get down to eye level (to gain attention)
- Stay calm and unfazed
They were emphasized for a reason.
They are absolute must do’s when it comes to helping your toddler develop listening skills!
I hope you can see that it IS possible to improve your child’s listening skills with just a few simple tweaks to your delivery and follow through.
While they may not give you that enthusiastic “okay, Mom!” like you dream about, they will learn to listen more quickly and without a fuss.
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