Parents who are raising or who have raised toddlers would agree that this phase in their child’s life is one of the most challenging. It’s during this time that their limits and patience are tested. But as to why toddlers misbehave is something that all parents need to understand. For one, a toddler has already formed a memory of their own preferences. They’re beginning to recognize what they like and what they don’t. They’re starting to have a sense of decision-making and autonomy which still confuses them at this stage. So if you’re having a difficult time with your little one right now, know you’re not alone and it doesn’t always have to be a battle. Take a look at these tips on how to get a toddler to listen.
Keep it simple
It’s easy to get frustrated when your toddler doesn’t listen after you have repeated yourself over and over. The solution? Keep it simple. There’s no need to give repetitive commands or instructions because the more you talk, the less they’ll understand. They already know what to do. They just need a little reminding. Keep it as short as possible. For example, instead of screaming “get your socks and put them on!”, you can simply say “put on your socks, please.” The calmer, the better.
Get on their level
One trick to get your little one to listen is to get on their level when trying to get their attention. Instead of nagging or yelling from a great height, try to pick them up or sit down with them so that you are on the same level as them. Make eye contact and face them. This works best when you want their full attention.
Be clear yet authoritative
Young kids tend to zone out when you nag them about a certain topic for too long. Send a clear, concise yet authoritative message. There’s no need for a lengthy speech. In fact, the message can be sweet and nice while subtly authoritative.
Instead of shouting at the top of your lungs for them to finish their food, try stating some facts instead. In this example, you could explain that they will get hungry later and won’t have the energy to play if they don’t eat their breakfast. Or when it is time to clean up their toys, you can say “keeping your toys in the right boxes makes it easy for you to find them the next time you want to play with them.”
Give them a choice
Young kids at ages 2 and 3 years are only beginning to exercise their freedom and independence. This is the reason why parents find it hard sometimes to get cooperation from their children. But since threats and punishments don’t usually work, make your little one feel that they actually have an option and that they are capable of making decisions. For example, instead of telling them to start putting their toys away, you can hand them a box and say “here’s a box for your toys.”
Following through with your instructions is important because it makes your child understand that you mean what you say. Be sure to stick to your word. Don’t give in to giving them sweets after telling them a couple of times they can’t have a slice of cake before dinnertime. Also, make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to the rules you set for your child.
Make it fun
Yelling to your child may make them cooperate but they’ll end up doing it out of fear. Instead, try to make things more fun and exciting for them. Give them something to look forward to after complying with your instructions. For example, tell them “Go finish your milk and I’ll read you your favorite book as I tuck you into bed.”
Encouraging cooperation from a toddler can be extremely challenging for every parent. However, with the help of these tips, you can get your toddler to listen to you a bit more and focus on your words and follow your directions.
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