How to Make Kids Actually Listen and Paying Attention to You

Getting through to kids isn’t always easy. In fact, more often than not it’s a struggle. Talking to kids requires understanding how their minds work and what you need to do to get through to them.

Our goal today is to give you a few tips on how to do exactly that. By the time you’re done reading this guide, you should have a good idea of how to have your kids pay attention when you’re talking to them. Let’s get to it. 

Establish Focus 

Kids are often having a hard time focusing on adults who are trying to talk to them. Sometimes this lack of attention is caused by a larger underlying problem, but in most cases, it’s just kids being distracted. 

Either way, the very first step in establishing meaningful communication with your kid is to get their attention. You’ll need to grab their focus and maintain it throughout your talk. This probably sounds easier than it actually is. 

Kids, especially small ones, usually focus their energy and attention on whatever they find interesting at the moment. If you approach them with a conversation that they might see as dull, you’ll be fighting to keep them focused on what you have to say. Timing is definitely a component of focusing your kid’s attention on yourself. 

Level With Them…Literally 

The best way to talk to children is to level with them both physically and emotionally. It’s usually a good idea to come up with simple rules that kids can understand, but how you explain these rules makes all the difference. Kneel down, so you’re level with your child. Coming down to their height will greatly improve your chances of maintaining their attention. 

Once you’re down there, talk to them in a way that shows compassion, especially if you’re asking them to do something they generally don’t like doing (chores, homework, etc.). The idea is to acknowledge their lack of enthusiasm and let them know that you understand. At the same time, you need to explain to them why they have to do what you need them to do. 

Don’t Yell 

Yelling is anything but productive. You might get the immediate results you need, but you’re doing more harm than good in the long run. That being said, we’re all human. Yelling is an emotional response that sometimes gets away from us. 

No one expects you to completely eliminate outbursts of yelling, but you should put effort into reducing such outbursts as much as possible. This is a solid rule for human interaction in general, but especially interaction with kids.

Make Kids Listen

Be Tactical With Your Point 

Talking to kids should be done using as few words as you can. As we’ve mentioned before, kids have short attention spans. You’ll be fighting to maintain their focus even if you’re very brief with your message.

Going into a long-winded speech will only get your kid confused and have them lose their interest fairly quickly. At the same time, you’ll end up frustrated thinking that your child is ignoring you on purpose. 

They’re not. They are just having trouble following what you’re saying. The best way to talk to a kid is to be tactical with your point. Use as few words as you can to drive the point home. This form of communication will resonate much better with your kid. 

Always Explain Why 

Telling kids to do something can cause a wide range of reactions. Some kids will comply without question, while others might throw a tantrum. Most negative reactions are caused by a lack of reasoning behind chores or instructions. 

Instead of bossing your kids around by ordering them to do something, try explaining why something needs to be done. Add meaning to a chore and explain to your kid why getting that particular chore done is important. That way you’re giving your chance to realize the consequences of their effort, which often leads to a sense of accomplishment. 

Adding the explanation to why something needs to be done works in the vast majority of cases, even with kids who aren’t prone to doing chores. 

Kids are Worth It 

Talking to children and having them do something can be frustrating. We’ve all seen that one parent who is burnt out and ready to call it quits. Use these tips to improve communication with your kid and be patient. 

They are worth the extra effort you might have to invest in your communication skills. Remember that you are raising a small human being who has their own character, emotions, and preferences.