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Parenting 101 – Reader Q&A: How do you make toddlers listen?

February 13, 2014

Ready for round two of Reader Q&A with Lisa from Parenting Playbook? Here is a question we all desperately want answered:

How do you make toddlers listen?

The simple answer is: The same way you would make anyone listen. We need to realize that just because our little ones don’t speak – they hear! They understand – I promise!

 So how do we help kids listen?

how to get your toddler to listen

Here are some tips:

1.  Use a pleasant tone of voice. A stern voice makes us all shut down. A pleasant tone is inviting instead of degrading.

2. Get down to their level and be sure to look into their eyes when asking them to do something.

3. Use humor or songs whenever possible – a guaranteed win! This is proven in any pre-school atmosphere. You never saw 3 year olds clean up so fast as when they sing, “Clean up, clean up,  everybody put the toys away!”

4. Be consistent, have routines, keep directions simple, one direction at a time. All these “rules” increase the success of execution.

5.  Be clear with your expectations- i.e. “I need you to be good”… this can be confusing. Good has a different definition depending on where you are. Good in church is different than good in a grocery store – spell it out! “I need you to sit in the cart on your bottom and then I will let you help me count the apples.”

{And in my non-expert opinion… number 4 is so key! If your kids know what to expect, life is so much easier.

“Mom can I play on the iPad?”

“We play on the iPad after dinner.”

End of discussion. Same rules every day!}

Want more tips from Lisa? You can follow her on FacebookTwitter, and check out her videos too! Lisa sends out parenting tips via email as well. Email her at [email protected] to be added to her list.

Up next? Help! My kid won’t stop biting, kicking and hitting?!?!!! Stay tuned…….

  • kim @ DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS
    February 14, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I love the use humor or songs tip! I think that works for so many ages… well, pre teen!

  • Jessica @EatSleepBe
    February 14, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I love these tips. And as incredibly difficult as it sometimes was for me to do, keeping my voice to almost a whisper seemed to resonate waaay more than raising my voice.

  • Life with Kaishon
    February 14, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Great tips! I think talking in a calm voice makes everything better!

  • Stephanie
    February 14, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Great tips! A schedule has certainly helped us. I try to stay away from “be good” because I don’t want my kids to think they are bad kids – so I do try to avoid that phrase if I can!

    I also found that just touching a shoulder or hand helped to focus my now 5 year old when he was a toddler.

  • Barbara @ Homeroom At Home
    February 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Excellent tips. Tweeting and sharing.

  • Carrie @ Chockababy
    February 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Great tips! I’d add “Get off your phone when you discipline.” I know I’ve done some distracted discipline in the past that fails right off the bat!

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