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What to do when your child stops listening.

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

Your child has free will and they won't always listen to you all the time. We're also just human, and we won't always be able to execute these strategies flawlessly every single time.

The key is that we want to raise children that will want to choose to do the right things all the time but at the same time, we cannot force them or scare them into behaving.

Instead, as parents, we should try to approach listening in a balanced way by being firm and warm as we guide our children. With anything, it certainly takes a fair bit of practice. However, the more we practice these strategies that we have shared will not only encourage our children to listen better but have them develop these values.

So what should you do when your children seem to stop listening to you? Well, simply ask yourself these questions:

• Are they hungry or tired?

• Do they need to burn off some energy?

• Would a change of scene (i.e. going outside) help them to refocus?

• Have I modeled good listening behaviour to them? When they asked me for something, did I respond to them appropriately when they said something to me the first time?

Note: This does not mean that you drop everything that you're doing or get them what they asked for. It is simply asking if you’ve responded to what they have said to you.

Remember these key things

1. Keep your language positive and set clear expectations with your child. For example: Before leaving for ______________ let them know, that they’ll have to ______________. Ask them when they plan on completing a task (i.e. chores, homework, getting ready for school).

Wait for their cooperation. You can tell your child, “I will wait as long as I need to for you to (put on your seatbelt).”

Once your child complies, acknowledge what they have done and move on!

There will be many opportunities for you to keep practicing listening skills and it will be a work in progress. Take a breather when you feel overwhelmed and try to be consistent!

If you would like to speak to a qualified Play therapist to learn how your child could benefit from play therapy, click here to get in touch today or want to know if Play Therapy could be right for your child take our quiz!

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