5 Ways to Get Kids to Listen

An incidence occurred compelling me to write a post about why kids don’t listen and 5 changes adults can make to help get kids to listen to our words.

For weeks I could hear a woman screaming in the hallway outside my apartment door, “Don-a-a-a-a-ld!” (Name changed to protect the innocent.) I cringed at the sound of this woman’s voice. I could only imagine how Donald felt. For a few weeks I did not even know what Donald looked like.

When kids dont listne to us we parents or teachers must ask ourselves, a question. Parents, are you teaching your child to not listen? #kids #listen #parenting #disicpline #teach

One day I had my arms full as I walked outside past the apartment complex play ground. An adorable little boy was running yards away from the designated play ground area. He was giggling as he ran towards me.

I kindly stated, ” Show me how you can run real fast to the picnic table.”

I saw an older woman sitting at the picnic table smoking a cigarette. She was alone with 5 other toddlers going down head first down the slide and monkey bars and thowing the little round pebbles they put on play grounds to cushion falls. I thought to my self, “Uh oh! Not safe! That is far too many toddlers to be “watching themself.”

Then I heard the familar screeching, “DON-a-a-a-a-a-LD!!!! YOU NEVER listen!”

Ouch my ears hurt!

Apparently 2 year old Donald did not ever seem to listen to screaming woman. I could see why he did not listen. That woman had taught the child to no listen to her words.

Donald was playing an attention seeking game while the baby sitter was getting paid to SIT!

I began seeing the woman on the play ground daily. I admit to peeking my head out when I heard the screaming. Every time I looked I saw this “old enough to know better grand mother” never get off her butt nor drop a cigarette. In fact I never saw her loook as children age 2 and under were doing not so safe activities, as tots tend to do because they don’t know any better.

  • I NEVER saw that woman interact with any of the children. ( Not that I spyed on her every activity.) She could had some plastic buckets or bowls for the kids to scoop up rocks into.
  • I NEVER saw that woman take the boy’s hand to keep him near her. “Let’s hold hands as we walk down the hall.” or “Hye kids, let’s waddle like duck on our way outside to park.”
  • I NEVER heard that woman tell the boy, “Hold my hand. Walk beside me. Show me hold your can hold your friend’s hand.”
  • I NEVER heard that woman say anything to tell any on those 6 pr-k babies that she liked what they were doing. ” Nice hug you gave your friends.”
  • I NEVER saw or heard that woman indicate that she was encouraging safety at all. ” I like the way you go down the slide feet first. yay!” or Lets see how we can all stay on this side of the grass.”

(For those who are reading and wondering…take a relaxing deep breath…that woman’s baby-sitting days seem to be over.)

5 Ways to Get Kids to Listen

  1. Clearly set the rules boundaries BEFORE a situation occurs.
  2. State what behavior you want clearly and simply once.
  3. Be prepared to help the child to follow through the very first time. Adult should redirect immediately.
  4. Be trustworthy with your words.
  5. Be firm and consistent.

When children do not seem to listen most often it is the adult who did not really communicate to the child.

( I often use these same prinicples when training Amber Service-Dog-in-Training. Example: Sit; Stay; Walk with me: drop it; Leave it.)

Stop Running in the House!

As an example:

Every day, 10 times a day the kids run around the living room.Dad has his face in his computor not looking up and yells, “STOP running in the house. How many times have I told you to not run in the house? I’m going to take away all your toys if you don’t stop running. You are driving me to drink!….”

How many times Dad yelled to NOT RUN is irrelevant, except to say that Dad had taught his kids to not listen by not telling them what he wanted them to do. He allowed the unwanted behavior to repeat over and over.

Let’s examine what Dad could do to help the kids listen based on my tips from above.

  1. Make a rule: Run outside: Walk inside. State the rule. “Walk inside.”
  2. Follow through: Look at kids faces; Stand up; Walk up to kids
  3. Follow though with appropriate consequence: Escort kids outside to run: walk by their side inside. Yelling “stop running” has done no good 100 times, has it?
  4. State, ” I have this rule because because I want you to be safe.”
  5. Be firm and consistent EVERYTIME until kids can follow through with safety rules all on their own. Be sure to tell them how much you love it when they walk inside.


  • Write down age appropriate rules even if the kids can’t read yet.
  • Parents need to know what the rules are themselves in order to help kids follow the rules EVERY time they need to be be redirected.
  • Kids learn very quickly how many times they can continue doing what ever until you enforce your words. They know you don’t expect them to stop to correct their behavior right way until you have given 3 to 10 warnings. You taught them that you aren’t expecting them to re-direct their behavior the first time.
  • Have you told the kdis what you want them to do instead of NOT do?

Why have rules?

  1. Rules help everyone to know what is expected.
  2. Rules and consequences help every one to feel more secure and safe.
  3. Rules help set boundaries
  4. Rules for children prepare them for following rules; proceedures; deadlines in the future.
  5. Rules encouraged by you, the grown up, builds trust and respect for you.
  • WHEN you give a consequence THEN follow through.
  • Make sure the consequence is relevant to the deed and your ocncern for their safety.
  • Bluffing with a threat like taking away all their toys 100 times but never doing anything says to the kids that your words means SQUAT! You can’t be trusted as a parent or teacher, so why should the kids listen to empty promises?
  • Kids are not reponcible for ” driving you to drink”, parents. You are the one in charge of teaching manners; safey and skill for life, not the kids.
  • “Discipline” means “to teach”. If kids are not listening chances are we have taught then to not listen to our words. Our words should be teaching them how to behave so grow,m mature; learn new skills and stay safe.

Not exactly what you expected was this? There is no magic pill to parenting nor teaching.

Honestly, we are the adults who are in charge for a reason. We grown-ups have experience that kids don’t have, yet. It is our responcibility to teach our children by example.

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