by Aruna Kamath
Disciplining kids is one of the most challenging responsibilities of parenting. It not only requires tons of patience but a great deal of tact and skill too. The way you talk to your child, including your body language and tone, is the basis on which your child will talk to others. Here are few talking tips to make your child listen to you.
Get down to their level: Sit down in front of your child and make eye contact. Talking face-to-face helps to connect with your child and listen to each other easily. It is also good manners. Towering over them can intimidate them.
Avoid lectures: Get straight to point and use staccato style short sentences. When you ramble, you’re bound to lose your child’s attention and chances are your child will give you a deaf year. So if you want your child to listen to you, it’s best to be brief and get done over with your talking quickly.
Give them a reason: When you’re requesting your kids to do something state the reason and consequences. When you do so, kids will realize that your request is genuine, so they will make an effort to listen to you. For instance, “I don’t want you to lie because, next time around when you talk the truth, people won’t believe you.”
Use positive language: Use ‘no’ or ‘don’t’ as sparingly as possible. Instead use the positive approach – it works better. For instance, “don’t watch TV now” can be reworded as “your TV time is between 9 and 9.30”.
Don’t criticize or accuse: This can puncture his self-esteem and make his behavior worse. If you want to co-operation, then state the problem directly. “your wet towel is on the bed”, “your lunch box is still in your school bag”.
Address by name: When you add a name, there is a serious undertone to it. So kids will realize you mean business and will pay attention
Use a friendly child-friendly tone: Often you can be misunderstood, if you don’t use the right tone. So how you say something is as important as what you say. Kids are more likely to listen to you when you use an encouraging and positive tone.
Avoid nagging: Repeated instructions can lead to your child ignoring you. Start by saying it nicely. If it doesn’t work, be firm the next time. If this still doesn’t work, then it’s time for action.
Be gentle but firm: Use authority to get your point across but don’t be aggressive. This will backfire and result in rebellious behavior.
Make them repeat the requests: When talking to kids below five, ask them to repeat your request. If he’s unable to, it means your instuctions are too long or complicated.
Keep age in mind: The younger the child, the simpler your instructions should be. If you’re talking to talking to your toddler, remember he or she is just learning to follow basic directions and respond to questions. So be direct in your instruction.
Add ‘I want’: Instead of “make the bed now” say “I want the bed made now”. This is a good way of putting across your request without making it to sound like an order. Kids will understand that you are being definitive and you mean what you mean and you expect it to be done.
Respect your child: Conduct yourself the way you want your child to conduct himself. So don’t forget your manners. There’s harm in using “please” and “thank you”. This is one way of teaching your kids politeness.
Don’t yell: It’s the worst way to communicate. When you yell, your child is upset, and so are you. So nothing gets achieved. The best way to get your child to listen to you is to stay in control. Put across your directives calmly, yet firmly, without hurting the child emotionally.
Give them choices: Kids are never happy when you lay down rules. So when you give them a choice, you’re giving them some amount of leniency to exercise their choice. “Do you want to watch TV or play on the ipad?”
Be a role model: Lead by example by being a good listener and paying full attention to what your child is saying. Be sincere and reciprocate to your child’s needs and problems.
It’s normal to face resistant behavior at every developmental stage. The best way to deal with it is to stay in control without losing your cool.