Does your toddler refuse to listen to you? This is fairly common because toddlers tend to have a selective hearing issue. Yes, you are repeating the same instruction time and again, but the toddler refuses to listen to you because they are only interested in doing what they love.
They will only listen to you if you are talking about something that they are interested in. As soon as your child enters your life and makes way into your arms, the feeling is priceless. Of course, you waited for the day to hold your baby and love them dearly. There are times when the toddlers are not behaving appropriately and it becomes necessary to correct them.
When the toddler does not listen, we repeat the same instruction.
You: Martin! Let’s take Phil (the dog) out for a walk.
No response. No reaction. No action.
You: Martin, I just told you to come along for a walk with Phil!
No response. Looks at you, but no excitement. Chooses to ignore you completely. This time you are agitated and the instructions get louder.
You: MARTIN! Are you even listening to me? Go and put on your shoes. We have to take Phil out for a walk!
Now some parents are extremely impatient and might just spank their toddler or shout. This is the wrong approach because your toddler will think that it is okay to get physical. Never shout or hit them because it makes their mind think that beating up and talking in a loud voice is alright.
The question is – How do I get my toddler to listen for the first time?
Let’s find out the ways to make your toddler listen to you for the very first time.
Change yourself, sweetheart
Shouting, screaming and hitting is unnecessary. Did your parents use the same tactics? Nothing is wrong with your toddler. The problem is YOU. Firstly, you need to accept that your behaviour is wrong. Once you have accepted this, we can move on to the ways to handle this situation.
Your child is not listening to you! If they are pretending to not hear what you just said, it is about time that you use certain strategies. In case your child is not hearing you out, this does not mean that they are disrespecting you or do not love you. The toddler has entered the world a few months or an year or two back, they need to learn how to act.
How do they learn this? It is through you! You need to teach your child the socially acceptable acts. By getting mad at the child, you are setting the wrong example.
Here’s a heartbreaking example! You and your toddler are out for a walk and you meet an old friend of yours. You start talking to the excited and curious lady, who cannot stop talking about her whole family drama. The kid asks you to leave or get him/her an ice-cream. You ignore the child anyway and continue talking because the family drama story is way more interesting.
YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO YOUR TODDLER! This is not the only example. When do you listen to your toddler? Changing yourself can be life-altering. You must try it!
Let us cut to the chase and answer the real question.
The Strategies to Use
- Get chatty with the toddler: They are growing up and more or less, the toddler understands your language. Sit with your toddler and tell them that it is not okay that you have to repeat instructions. Explain to them that it is necessary to listen to his/her elders. You need to tell them about the way you feel. ”Annie, I feel embarrassed and hurt when you do not listen to me. When I say NO to something, understand that mommy loves you and cares for you.” They are not grown-ups but some toddlers understand the language of love. Actually, most of them would appreciate a heart-to-heart talk.
- Positive reinforcement: Whenever the child behaves and cooperates, reward them. Positive reinforcement always works! When the toddler cooperates, hug them and tell them that they are a fantastic child. Kids love appreciation and you must showcase it at the right time.
- It’s a two-way street: If you expect them to listen to you, it is best to listen to them as well. As parents, we feel that we are the dominating ones, but the toddler does not understand this demarcation. If something is bothering your toddler, ask them to speak up. Never punish your child for speaking up their mind. You listen to them and they will listen to you. It is about mutual respect and love.
- No sarcasm, please: Do not be loud, snobbish or sarcastic. Giving instructions is fine, but give it in a hush tone. If you are getting embarrassed by your child’s behaviour, they are getting embarrassed because you are shouting on them in public. Control the tone of voice and keep it soft. Never use a harsh tone because kids tend to throw tantrums and cry.
- Do not give orders: You are shouting from the kitchen and the toddler is in their room. Do not give orders to the child! Go to their room and speak to them. Show gratitude when they listen to you.
- Respect the child and their space: You are talking to your best friend on phone and your husband comes and interrupts the conversation. You feel agitated and do not listen to what he is saying, right? Similarly, the child might be playing a game or painting something. Maybe the child is day-dreaming as well! We all have the habit of selectively picking what we want to hear. If the dinner is ready, tell your child that you want them to come to the table in 10 minutes. Do not give them an ultimatum.
What did YOU learn?
You brought a new life into the world. There is no guarantee that the child will be shy or extremely loud! The toddler does not know the social processes and norms. We all were born in an ongoing society with set norms and rules. It will take a little time for the toddler to learn the appropriate way to behave.
Our final thoughts are just this that respect your child and never shout or beat them up. You are teaching the wrong lessons to the small kid! Treat them with love and tell them how you feel. Kids are quite sensitive and they understand what we go through. It just needs a little bit of transparency. Speak to them and never get agitated. They will learn everything through the socializing process.