This is the blog of the website: Pre-School Fun Learning
Quack, Quack, Quack!
Listen to Me, Please!
By Llynda Fogle
Mama Darlin Duck, an overwhelmed single parent of 4 little quackers, is a character in our Sparkle and Shine School Readiness Series who helps us learn how to help our children tune in. She certainly has a lot in common with us for we all want to know how to get our children to listen, to pay attention and follow directions. However, it takes more than a loud quack to get some’s attention.
Did you ever notice how children can tune in to your most private conversations but go suddenly deaf when you direct them to do their chores? Sometimes, children need to be shown what to do and how to do it. They can see a skill or directive modeled, hear the instructions and then practice doing it along with you.
Learning to pay attention and follow directions starts one step at a time. First, and foremost, children need to learn how to listen and YOU need to learn effective ways to communicate so that children will listen. Once children (and you)begin to have a good handle on this essential skill, then you can give children one or two simple tasks or directions and let them complete those successfully. Offer praise and encouragement for what is done. Add three-step directions only when two-step directions have been accomplished.
Below are some highly effective strategies to get kids to listen you:
Your attitude always goes before you. You can’t fool dogs and children! They have a 6th sense still intact that can tell whether you wish them well. When communicating, a positive, warm attitude with a dash of fun makes everything heard more clearly.
Use simple words and phrases. Use words they understand. Avoid information overload.
Sometimes we are unconsciously guilty of multiple orders from headquarters. We say things like, “Turn off the TV right now, go brush your teeth, wash your face and get your pajamas on. I’m coming in in 5 minutes!! Instead try this: “When Paw Patrol is over, turn off the TV. Once the TV is off you can say, “Okay, get your PJs on and go bathroom. Do you want to tiptoe or march to the bathroom?”
Get to the point. Pretend that you are being timed. If you don’t say what you need to say within a short time, you have lost the attention of most wandering minds. This even includes adults. Give clear and concise directions of the thing you want done. No long winded paragraphs are necessary. We tend to give reasons, rationalize, bargain, threaten, bribe, or ask children versus tell children what is expected. Have you ever caught yourself, saying something like, “Okay dear, are you about ready to go nighty night?’ How many children do you know that will say, “Sure Mom, I‘ll go right to bed quietly.”
Here’s the truth, when you yell at your kids, they’re not listening to a thing that you’re saying. All they’re doing is tuning out, shutting down and feeling upset. Try short blunt sentences, “Sit down, stay in your seat, no! Stop!” It does sound a bit like dog trainingJ. If you have to walk out of the room to calm down, then do so. It is your job to communicate in a calm manner. Yelling shows your kids that you’ve lost control and that they are really the ones in change. For example, Paul is probably thinking, “Wow! I have a lot of power. I can make mom blow her top!” What are you really teaching them about effective communication?
Look children in the eye and encourage them to look you in the eye, (if culturally appropriate). Say what you need to say and while still making eye contact have them tell you what they heard.
Listening activities you can play with your young children to help them develop auditory skills:
Go on a listening walk in doors our outside. See how many sounds you can hear and identify. Inside sounds of a clock, the hum of a refrigerator, the ping of a kitchen times, the sounds of a music box, sounds from the outside heard, people breathing or coughing are examples. Outside, you may hear birds chirping, car tires humming on the road, machinery building things, lawnmowers, wind, waves lapping on the shore or dogs barking.
Make a secret box with things in it that make sounds and invite a child to discover what’s inside by the sounds they hear. Put items like a ticking clock, a maraca, a dog squeeze toy, a rain stick or a bottle of water.
Read stories to the children and ask for feedback about what they heard:
Tuning in and learning to listen is a critical life skill for all ages. Be very intentional about teaching your children to art of listening. It affects every part of our life and relationships from kindergarten to the love of your life. Start early with teaching effective and caring listening skills and reap the rewards of cultivating rich relationships and positive life experiences. With Love, Llynda