How To Get Your Toddler To Listen And Cooperate
If you are a parent to a toddler, chances are that you may experience issues with getting your little one to listen to you. Toddlers are curious little creatures keen on exploring the environment around them, and listening to you is the last thing on their minds. This can be frustrating, especially for first-time parents. Here is how you can get them to listen and cooperate.
1. Make A Connection First
Before you start to speak to your child, make a connection with them first. That means that shouting at them from across the room won't get them to listen. Instead, try moving in close, getting down on your toddler's level, and touching him lightly. If he is doing something, make a connection by commenting about the activity.
Wait until he looks at you, and then start talking. If he is too engrossed in what he’s doing, try asking “Can I tell you something?” When he meets your eye, you can then talk.
2. Avoid Repeating Yourself
If you find yourself repeating an instruction and not getting any response from your toddler, you don't have his attention. Make a connection first, as described above. Also, try using fewer words when giving instructions.
3. Give Choices Where Possible
Giving your child choices works well as long as the options you give them end in what you want them to do. For example, you can say "Do you want to wear to play in the sand pit or on the swings?" If he refuses to pick, say "I will pick for you."
In situations where you can’t give your child options, it may help to explain your thinking. For example, if your toddler doesn’t understand why you don’t want him to touch the stove, tell her, “Don’t touch, ow!” rather than just “No.” This can help them understand the logic behind your instructions.
4. Stay Calm
When you get upset, kids pick up on it, and their fight or flight is triggered as a result. This reduces their ability to listen to what you’re saying, and will only make you more frustrated. If your toddler is getting on your nerves, take a deep breath, and try to communicate as calmly as possible.
5. Set Routines
The more routines you have in place, the less you have to nag your little ones to do things. Form habits such as brushing teeth at certain times, taking a bath before bedtime, and washing hands after using the bathroom early. Consider taking photos of your child doing these things and put them on a task board to serve as a reminder.
6. Be Playful
Toddlers are more likely to listen to you if you’re a bit playful. You can try singing, making funny noises, or telling a story when applying lotion or changing your toddler’s diaper to get them to stop squirming.
In trying to get your toddler to listen and cooperate, keep in mind that your little one is a human, and humans don’t respond well to being ordered around. To get your child to cooperate, communicate with them calmly, and aim to connect with them first before telling them to do anything.