Admittedly, raising children can be a very difficult task. Figuring out how to get them to listen to you and take you seriously is often stressful. You might have struggled for the hundredth time to get your children to stop entering the house with dirty shoes but they still won’t listen to you.
If you are trying to instil assertiveness when dealing with your children, here are some essential tips that you might find useful.
1. Be direct
It’s best to skip the long lectures and get direct to the point in order to get them to listen. When you are trying to get your kids to listen and follow instructions, they tend to get lost and drift away in the middle of your lecture. At a young age, kids have a very short attention span so beating around the bush won’t help at all. Experts suggest that you should try using a single word to get them to do something. For example, replacing ‘Can you put the toys away when you are finished’ with ‘toys’. Say it with assertiveness and back it up with a gesture. This way, they will take what you are saying seriously without you having to repeat it all the time.
2. Create a reward system
Reward you children when they follow instructions. A good reward system will keep them on their toes and help them feel motivated to behave. Use simple things such as more cartoon time, ice-cream treats or other creative rewards depending on what they like. Create a healthy balance by rewarding them for good behaviour.
3. Give room for natural consequences
The wise men say that experience is the best teacher and this has often proved to be true. I remember learning the hard way as a child, when I was warned of the consequences of my actions and I didn’t listen. This was the best motivation for me to take instructions seriously. Part of good parenting is letting your kids experience the consequences of their actions first hand so that they understand why they should behave.
4. Communicate your expectations
As your kids grow and learn, they should become more aware of what you expect them to do as per routine. Use the right approach when you have their full attention. When they are right in the middle of a game, they might not be inclined to listen to you fully. Let them know that you expect them to brush their teeth after meals or that they should take their plates to the sink after eating. With the right approach, you should be able to make some progress.
5. Pick your battles
As a parent, reasoning with your child can sometimes backfire on you. You might have wasted so much time constantly yelling and trying to get your kids to finally stop leaving the fridge door open when they get snacks. Sometimes, the best way to get them to listen is by being patient with them and choosing what to fuss about. Issues such as doing homework early are more important than putting back toys in the toy box. Think about it!
Start by handling issues with priority and gradually get them to change other behaviours with time. This is a great way to teach them responsibility early.
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