Raghav…are you listening to me??
Ever observed the silence that greets you at times, when you are talking to your child? They are so immersed in what they are doing – they miss hearing you completely, most of the times! As a parent, when your child does not respond to you, it is indeed a frustrating moment. So how can parents overcome this tricky situation? Speaking to your child is not going to help, after all THAT is the issue we are discussing!! After sufficient research and information gathered from other parents and testing, I have found that the following points have helped me to overcome such situations.
- Using your child’s name and maintaining eye contact: This was my very first method of dealing the situation. “Raghav, please go and give this to your brother.” Using the name always got me his attention and I always turned to him and ensured he looked at me, while I asked/ told him anything. This method works miracles. I realised it is much better than calling out facing somewhere else – again and again!
- “Did you find that book you lost in class the other day? Did you lose it or did you lend it to someone? Varsha’s mom says she saw you lending it to Sonal day before yesterday. Do you remember lending it to her? “ My four year old looked at me in utter confusion. My elder one promptly told me –“Ma I think you are speaking too fast. He has not understood at all!” So now I know, I keep my sentences short. If required, I repeat my sentence.
- If you observe carefully, children usually listen when grandparents tell them. This is a tip I got from my mother. So now I tell my son – “Raghav, finish your food, so that you will not feel hungry when we go down to play.” I always inject a statement they like to hear (going to play, in this case) so that they are motivated to do what I want them to (eat food).
- Another method which I have always found to work is – giving choices to my child. “Would you like to put away your toys first? Or would you like to have a bath first?” A child tends to feel important when they are involved in the decision making process. Another successful method, I have realized.
- Speaking to your child in advance about what you expect him/her to do , especially if you are expecting them to behave in a certain way. I always had a tough time getting Raghav to tear away from toys whenever we were at a play date. Saying bye and leaving was such a tough job for him and an embarrassing procedure for me to get him to leave back home. His dad then decided to take the matter into his hands. The next time we left for a play date, he told Raghav that it is good that he is playing with friends, that he can play with their toys and share his own. He then told him that we expected that he will behave like a big boy and leave for home when we wanted him to. I softly repeated this to him when we rang his friend’s doorbell too. 15 minutes before we were to leave, Raghav’s dad told him –“ Ok Raghav, you have about 15 minutes to play and then say goodbye to all.” It worked! Much better than telling him to abruptly leave all toys and say goodbye!
- My elder one of 8 years also at times gets into the ‘not listening’ mode where I have to call out and repeat information etc. What I have found most effective is, writing a funny note for him which grabs his interest and attention. Humour catches his interest. So I use that tool whenever required. Phew!The key point, I have realised is –to do the same ourselves. Over a period of time, I have realized that children simply imitate us! Paying attention to what they say, is equally important as expecting them to listen to us, when we speak. For them it has always been important that – we listen!