Listen Up, Kids!
“No one listens to me!”
I sound pathetic, I know. I sound like some whiny little kid but seriously, no one in my house listens to me at the moment.
“Put your shoes on, please.”
“Have you got a jumper? It’s cold outside, please get a jumper.”
“Don’t leave your ice cream sticks all over the house.”
I can say the same thing once, twice, fifty freaking times and still, there’s feet without shoes, kids complaining about being cold and enough ice-cream sticks around the house to turn in a full-sized replica of the Eiffel Freaking Tower as a school project.
I don’t know why they’re not listening. It seems like a fairly simple thing to do. But time and time again what starts out as a simple request ends up in a five-star rant from a shouty dad who’s had enough.
So, when enough’s enough, we turn to those more recognised in the parenting field for advice. In this case, I jumped on the Supernanny’s website.
Here’s what I discovered: apparently, it’s my fault.
Good. Right. Wait. WTF? My fault?!
They’re the ones who won’t listen!
(Sidenote: The more you do dad-type stuff, the more you realise that it’s usually your fault. Kid forgets lunch, dad’s fault. Kid falls out of tree, dad’s fault. Kid wants Oompa-Loompa, dad’s fault.)
In this case, it’s my fault they don’t listen because apparently, I don’t listen to them. Sounds like victim-blaming but we’ll keep going.
It’s at this point I realise that maybe this article isn’t the best authority on getting kids to listen. It’s at this point I realise that the article I’m reading was in fact written by “The Supernanny Team” and not the actual Supernanny. Ripped off! Kind of like finding out that tonight’s concert will feature Beyonce’s backup singers, not Queen B herself.
Obscure reference from a bloke who doesn’t know any Beyonce songs but anyway, here’s more of the “advice”.
Reduce resistance by offering a choice when and how something is done.
“OK, kids, would you like to ignore me now or after your breakfast? Both? Excellent.”
Write a note. Children love receiving notes. Be creative, it doesn’t have to come from you.
The next one that leaves an ice-cream stick in the lounge room will meet me first.
The Monster Under Your Bed.
Get down on their level when you speak.
Sure, if you’re going to have your feelings hurt by a small child, might as well hurt your knees and back as well. Actually, it turns out that most of the advice in the article has nothing to do with getting kids to listen and more to do with how to get them to stop whining and throwing tantrums. Should’ve held out for the actual Supernanny’s advice. Perhaps the title “How to get your child to listen” was her only contribution to the article. But here’s some bits that may be worth trying:
Manage your tone.
Ask nicely, then ask firmer, then step in and take action.
Praise and recognise co-operation.
Use clear, short, sharp requests: “Shoes”. “Bedtime now”. “Teeth”.
But the most important one is to make sure you’re in the same room when you’re talking to them. This one does seem to work and best of all I’ve dropped three kilograms this afternoon just from all the walking backwards and forwards.