The toddler years are a real power struggle!
You might think it’s one of the most difficult parts of your parenting journey, but I am here to say it is not.
In fact, it is relatively easy(ish).
There are ways you can speak with your toddlers and get them to listen – most of the time.
Yes. Getting your toddlers to listen is not as difficult as it seems.
Bear with me on this one.
How a toddler thinks is very different from how adults think. Their brains are still developing, after all.
Imagine how blissful it would be to get your kids to put on their shoes, put away their toys, or anything else you want them to do – without yelling! It might seem impossible, but it can be a reality.
This article contains some tips to help you understand your toddler and how to get your toddler to listen to you.
Using these tips will save you from the stress of yelling every time you give a toddler simple instructions, increasing the chances of them listening to you.
12 Parenting Tips on Help Get Your Toddler to Listen
Spend quality time with them
Spending quality time fosters a loving environment between you and your toddler. In addition, your toddler trusts you more when you spend quality time with them and follow instructions.
Quality time does not necessarily have to do with the number of hours you spend with your toddler. Instead, it is the activities that you do within that time that is important.
You may even allow your toddler to determine activities to do during those times. Make the times you spend with them fun and memorable, and they will put on their clothes without throwing a tantrum next time.
When speaking, get down to their (eye) level.
Another ‘trick’ when getting toddlers to follow instructions is to crouch down to their eye level. So, the next time you need your toddler to do something, do not just talk down to them. Instead, sit next to them or kneel before them.
Come to their eye level, look at them, and pass your message. This act shows these youngsters that you care about them. This way, you have their attention, and they are ready to listen to what you have to say.
The eye contact appeals to their emotions and makes the kids feel less intimidated. Thus, increasing the odds of them obeying your instructions.
Whatever you do, when speaking to a toddler, do not yell. Yelling has a lot of negative impacts on the development of toddlers. Plus, it often does not even get them to listen to you.
Yelling at a toddler tells your toddler that you are either angry or stressed, which only aggravates children. Thus, making them defy your orders. Do you want to give instructions to a toddler and want them to listen to you?
Then, always keep your cool whenever you are instructing a toddler. When you speak calmly, it is not only good for the development of your toddler but also increases the chances of them listening to you.
Give them short, simple, clear, and realistic instructions.
Keeping the instructions simple is something you should always do as a parent/guardian. Avoid giving vague, unclear, and unnecessarily long instructions.
Toddlers naturally have a short attention span, and you want them to get your message as quickly as possible. For example, a toddler will most likely understand instructions like ‘walk slowly’ better than ‘watch out’ or ‘be careful.’
You should keep the commands short, clear, simple, and firm. Keeping it short and simple makes it easier for your children to follow through.
Keep instructions simple and straightforward to avoid confusion and increase compliance from your toddler.
Listen; be attentive to them.
Listening actively to your toddlers not only helps to develop their communication and listening skills but also helps you to understand your child’s behavior – see things as they see them. It also helps build your active listening skills as well.
There are many ways to show these youngsters that you are listening. One of them would be to repeat whatever they say. Also, you can show gestures that show them that you are genuinely listening. That way, you model good listening skills to them.
Sometimes, even when they do not get what they ask for, most children are content with the fact that you hear what they have to say. Plus, you can understand how to handle younger children better when you are a good listener.
Be creative with them.
You can employ creativity in getting your toddlers to listen to you. For example, you can offer them alternatives instead of just giving them direct orders. A toddler is likely to obey when there is something else to gain.
Another way to get creative with kids is to offer them choices instead of forcing an option down their throats. For example, a toddler will rather choose out of a green or red dress than be forced to put on a dress.
There are different ways to get creative with younger children. However, it is up to you to figure out the best way to get them to obey you.
At times, all you need to make toddlers compliant is to incentivize them (giving them some reward for obeying or following your instructions). However, the incentives depend on your toddler’s favorites.
The incentive may be a show, some toys, or a favorite dress. Use these incentives to motivate them to listen to you. For example, an instruction like, “How about you wash your hands and we’ll go and see the dinosaur train” will get a toddler’s attention than just saying, “Wash your hands.”
So, the next time you need your toddler to do something, think of a way to reward them.
Another ‘trick’ that works is to dare children to do something. The urge to prove you wrong will make them obey instructions they usually would not.
You can put your instructions like this, “You can’t put those plates away in two minutes, can you?” Then, you can watch them obey you instantly.
Use their favorite songs/sing about the tasks.
Either you want to help kids with something they dread, or you want them to carry out some tasks; songs can help with both.
For example, singing or playing a toddler’s favorite song can calm them as you help them with that activity they do not want to do. Furthermore, singing about the task can help them ease into it.
These songs will make it less of a hurdle the next time they want to carry out these tasks. Great, right?
Praise and encourage them.
Praising and encouraging toddlers is an excellent way to show that you appreciate them. This appreciation motivates them to comply at the moment and in the future.
As a parent, you should make a habit of praising and encouraging your children. Especially when they are on good behavior, however, please do not overdo it, as excessive praise can make a toddler pompous.
Also, try to be specific when praising your toddler. Let them know what they did right to deserve the praise.
Eliminating distraction applies to you as well as your toddler. During the times that you have dedicated to spending with these youngsters, it is best to eliminate every form of distraction.
Also, when you want your children to do something, and they seem distracted by other activities, you can pause those distractions and allow them to return to it after they have obeyed you.
Occasionally, distractions can be a good thing. For example, if your toddler is doing something you do not want them to do, distracting them with something they love may be a good idea.
Give your toddler advance notice.
The last tip on getting your toddlers to listen to you is giving them advance notice. You can do this by telling them what to expect.
For instance, your toddler may be doing something they find interesting at the moment, and you want them to do some other tasks later on.
You can give them a heads up by informing them that they will do that activity later. This advance notice can be constructive in getting your child to listen to you.
Lastly, you may sometimes have to let the kids have their way once in a while. Make concessions for them.
Using the tips on this page can help you get your toddler to listen more.
Make sure you are consistent with your expectations and use a combination of positive reinforcement and logical consequences to help guide your toddler’s behavior.
Remember, it takes time and patience to train toddlers, but eventually, they will learn how to behave in a way that pleases both you and them.