My Kids Don’t Listen to Me!

Hi Dr. Ann.
How do I get my children to acknowledge what I am telling them…my son seems to always make noises, shake his head around…while I’m trying to tell him something…I try to get him to say “ok mom” after I tell him something…but I’m not sure its coming from the “heart”…

Jen,
This is a tough one with young children. Kids are wired at this age to play, play, play not listen. Literally their brains are on fire and the only way to keep the fire burning for your child is to pull things apart, unfasten things, climb on things and basically pay attention to whatever they are doing at the moment.

So, the only way to teach listening, is to do it while they are listening. One of the best ways to do this is when you are reading to them. So, if they stop moving and listen to you while you are reading do something like this…

Close the book for a split second, turn to them and touch them while you are saying, “You are stopped right now, your arms and legs are not moving, there are no words coming out of your mouth and the only thing that is working are your ears, that is called LISTENING”, way to go, I think I will read you another story because you know how to listen”. Kids need to know what listening is, not their parents telling them to listen when they are not.