Helping Kids Hear

Vail MountainI was back at preschool community night last week and we were chatting about the issues that face parents. A biggie…

How can I make my kids listen to me?

I can’t.

What I can do is create the conditions where my kids might hear me, and use behavioral psychology to increase compliance.

Key things that I’ve noticed:

Space to comply – when the kids are running around being kids, it can take a LONG time for me to understand what my wife is saying. In fact, it can take so long that she might get frustrated with me, even when I hear her. I’m guessing that a three-year old has a similar comprehension lag.

Solution – ALWAYS count to three in my head to give the kid time to hear, and time to comply

Don’t Scare My Children Witless – Am I creating an environment where my kids are able to understand me? Not always.

Never Repeat – the moms at the preschool meeting HATE repeating themselves. My solution is to observe how many times I repeat myself.


Because our kids don’t need to listen if we’re always repeating!

By the way, it’s difficult to ask the kids not to repeatedly ask me for stuff if I’m always doing the same to them. Be the change.

Talk To My Eyes – when my house is full, I spend most my time with sensory overload. I get so fried I can’t think, write or function. Once I’m fried, everyone needs to talk directly to my eyes. It takes a little extra effort but then they don’t have to repeat. 🙂

Finally, is it worth listening to what I have to say? Are my expectations reasonable? What’s my ratio of positive-to-negative interactions?

When I turn the issue on it’s head, I’ve found myself lacking in many relationships – not just with my kids.