The way we choose to communicate with our children has a large impact on their ability to listen to us, and what they take away from the exchange. We are frequently attempting to teach our children the appropriate way to behave and conduct themselves, and the way we speak to them has a lot to do with this. Children watch our every move, and the way communicate with them shows them how we wish for them to communicate with us.
There are many ways to communicate with our children that will translate into them listening to us and responding in a positive manner.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen
Get Their Attention
Before you begin to speak to your children, you must make sure that you are really connecting. This means that barking orders from across the room will result in almost zero follow through on their end.
Rather than yelling across the room and expecting a response, move in close and get down to your child’s level. Attempt to make eye contact and once that happens, start speaking.
Do NOT Repeat Yourself
If you have already attempted to speak to your child and you have not yet received a response, don’t try to repeat yourself over and over. Instead, go back to the first step and try to get their attention. Minimize the distractions and try again. Repeating yourself will only frustrate you both.
Don’t Over speak
The fewer words you choose to use to give instructions the better. When we make our request and conversation too wordy, we dilute our message and lose our little one’s focus. Use as little words as possible to speak to your child, making the communication simple.
When speaking to your children you must remain calm and keep an even tone of voice. This will not only help your children to calm down and communicate in a positive way, but it will prevent you from becoming overemotional or flustered. When your children realize that they are not getting a strong reaction out of their parents, they will be able to focus and listen to what you’re saying.
Even though you want to speak in a calm voice, you also want to make sure that you’re using an authoritative or strong voice. An authoritative voice does not mean yelling; it means that you speak with conviction. When speaking, know what you’re going to say so that you can say it with assurance and authority. This voice will make your kids sit up and take notice, listening to what you want them to hear.
Use Age-Appropriate Words
Depending on how old your kids are, you’ll want to change the words you use. For example, you will probably use simple words and sentences when speaking to your toddler or preschooler. Once your child is in elementary school, you can begin using more complex words and sentences. As your child grows, you can change your vocabulary to keep up with their developmental abilities. It is important to always take age into account when communicating with your children, otherwise there will be too much disconnect in your conversation and that will cause you both to become frustrated.
There are many ways to talk so your kids will listen, just make sure to get their attention, refrain from repeating yourself, don’t bombard them with lengthy requests or wordy statements, remain calm, be authoritative and clear and use words that are easy for them to understand. Communicating effectively with your children is an important part of their development.
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!