Toddlerhood. That is a milestone in itself as you think back. Not all that long ago, that toddler in front of you was that newborn that you held in your arms after giving birth to him or to her.
When your toddler was a small infant, it was difficult to imagine that they would ever be walking, talking, and eating foods other than breast milk or formula.
However, here you are. Your baby is now walking, and talking (just a little but their growing vocabulary amazes you each day), and is able to feed him or herself solids.
This phase, however, comes with plenty of frustration from time to time.
That is because they are slowly becoming self-aware, are egocentric, and are exerting their independence.
That is why they throw those tantrums when they don’t get what they want. What is more frustrating than those tantrums they throw is that they don’t listen!
Toddler Doesn’t Listen To Instructions
Toddlers do not listen! Either they literally get up and run around as you speak or become very fidgety and are more concerned about being on the move than listening to what you have to say.
This fact makes you and other parents of toddlers want to scream!
However, screaming will not help matters as it will only scare the toddler away.
How To Get Toddlers To Listen Without Yelling
I know you want know how to get your toddler to listen the first time. It’s important for you to realize that they have extremely short attention spans.
That is why you are finding that after saying something to your toddler for the 10th time, it is as if he or she has not heard a thing you had said.
Fortunately, there are 9 easy ways on how to get a toddler to listen. Let’s go over those right now.
1. Read To Your Toddler
Parents often don’t realize how beneficial reading is to their babies and toddlers. If you are not sure of what the benefits are of reading to your young child, it helps to promote their listening and language skills.
Reading helps to promote their attention span as well. This is why a nightly ritual of reading to your toddler should be established.
That is perfect to do right before bed as any child enjoys being read to. There are plenty of age-appropriate books you can read to your toddler. The more you read to him or to her, the better she or he will listen to what you have to say, over time.
The trick is to get brand new reading material often so your toddler does not grow bored with the same stories read to him or her over and over again.
If you read a brand new book to your toddler, then he or she will be excited to wait what finds out at the end of the story. That in itself will strengthen listening skills.
2. Go Down To Your Toddler’s Level As You Speak
If you are concerned that your toddler is not listening to you, then one way to help make that happen is by going down to his or her level.
You literally have to bend down and talk to your toddler as he or she will have no choice but to look at your face as you speak. If your toddler is sitting on the sofa in the living room, then go and sit on the sofa next to him or her. Then speak.
If your toddler is in bed, then sit on the bed and talk. If there is a chair in the bedroom, you can also pull the chair up to the side of the bed and sit while you talk to your toddler.
3. Have Mealtimes Together As A Family
It is understandable that sharing meal times may not always be possible based on whether or not you are working different shifts than your partner.
However, if you can do it, it is a great tip to utilize when it comes to helping your toddler listen to you as you speak.
If you are eating a meal together as a family, then your toddler cannot go up and run away in the middle of dinner while sitting on the booster chair.
Therefore, as your toddler is sitting and eating, you will be able to get his or her attention as you speak. Once again, if you and your partner are unable to utilize this particular tip due to work or other obligations you have, then utilizing the other tips mentioned will help.
However, if you and your partner are not working on the weekends or any other day, then you can utilize this tip then.
4. Be Clear With The Words You Are Using
Your toddler will not listen to you if you are not clear and you are saying too many words.
Remember that your toddler’s attention span is very short and his or her receptive language (understanding what is being said) is developing.
Make clear, short, and authoritative statements in order for your toddler to be receptive to what you are saying.
For instance, if you want your toddler to put his or her jacket on, then just say ‘Put your jacket on‘.
Don’t start saying ‘You need to put your jacket on because it is cold outside and if you don’t wear your jacket, you will get sick‘.
Or if you’re familiar with the toddler teeth brushing struggle, you will know that it doesn’t help to explain cavities until you’re blue in the face to a toddler.
If you say more than you need to in order to be clear, your toddler is guaranteed to zone out. That will only add to more of your frustration.
5. Mean What You Say To Your Toddler In Order To Be Taken Seriously
If you tell your toddler to do something, then mean what you say. Don’t make any empty threats or break promises.
For instance, if your toddler wants juice with a snack, but you insist that he or she drinks water instead, then give your toddler water.
Don’t give in at any point and give your toddler juice after you have made it clear that you will only allow your toddler to have water.
The same applies to give empty threats. If you tell your toddler that another tantrum will result in having a timeout, then stick to that.
If your toddler does have another tantrum and you don’t give him or her a timeout, that will only cause your toddler not to take you seriously when you make threats.
Have your partner or anyone else that is a big part of your toddler’s life to be consistent with following through on any rules they make with your child. That is one important way on how to get a toddler to listen.
6. Give Warnings About A Big Change Happening In Advance
Your toddler may be happy with doing something such as playing with toys and in 5 minutes you have to take him or her to the appointment with the pediatrician.
You know that either way, your toddler will not be happy about having to stop playing. The best thing to do is to give a warning that playtime will be over by saying ‘After dressing your doll (or racing the car), put your jacket on‘.
Don’t give the warning five minutes before you plan to go as your toddler does not have any concept of time. Do so right before you want to leave. A tantrum may or may not happen, and if it does, do not give in.
7. Give Easy And Digestible Instructions
Remember once again, the only way to get through a toddler is to speak simply and clearly. That includes giving simple instructions to your toddler.
For instance, he or she is playing with a set of blocks. When you want your child to put them away, don’t just say ‘It is time to put all of the blocks away‘.
Instead, tell him or her to put the yellow blocks away’. Once that is done, praise your toddler and then give instructions to put the blue ones away, and so on.
8. Be Motivating
You are aware that delivering a message clearly is the key to your toddler listening to you. The next thing to do is to be motivating.
One way to do that is to give instructions through singing a song.
For instance, if you want your toddler to put his yellow blocks away, sing ‘Put your yellow blocks away‘ in a tone that is similar to the ‘Three Blind Mice‘ song.
If you add a little bit of fun to your instructions, then it will be better received.
Another thing to do is to emphasize the benefits of listening to you.
You can tell your toddler after he puts away his yellow blocks, he will be read to.
The wording can be ‘Put away your yellow blocks and then we’ll read your favorite book‘. This really boils down to the reward system that kids are very receptive to.
9. Be Patient
You will be frustrated at times when you are trying to talk to your toddler. Even when you do your best by speaking clearly and easily, your toddler still may throw the tantrum.
One example of this is during the night time when you’re trying to get your toddler to bed. It’s best to remain patient and calm if you want to know how to prevent your toddler from climbing out of their crib.
Don’t lose your cool no matter how tempting it may be at times. If you are able to take some deep breaths to prevent yourself from blowing up, eventually your toddler will listen to you.
Talking To Toddlers
Encouraging your toddler to listen can be difficult. However, by utilizing these 9 tips, you will, in time, have your toddler listening to you much better.
It may mean that some moments will be difficult as you attempt to get through your toddler. With patience, tenacity, and consistency, it will work! This is how you will get a toddler to listen!