An iVillage Top 10: The Best Ways to Get Your Children to Listen to You

The recently revamped list of the Seven Wonders of the World needs a new number eight: "Children who actually listen to their parents." We asked iVillagers to share their collective expertise for a top-10 list of attention-grabbing suggestions. They really do work!

My philosophy is quite simple: Tell them what I am going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what I just told them.


Good communication is something you have to model. At meal times, the family table is an excellent resource for building solid communication and listening skills, as well as teaching a child to take turns in discussion.


My tactic is to physically get on their level, look them in the eyes and say what I've got to say.


I start talking backwards if I don't think my kids are listening to me. It gets their attention and sometimes helps them remember. For example, when I was trying to get my DS to put his shoes on the right feet, I said, "Put your feet on the right shoes." He laughed, corrected me, and now every time he puts on his shoes he tells me his feet are on the right shoe with a little giggle.


I count to 3 to get my son's attention. Usually, by 2, he is.


Repeat yourself over and over again ("Clean your room. Clean your room. Clean your room.") until they get so annoyed that they do whatever you're asking, just to shut you up! Think about it: Kids have been using this tactic for years on you and it always gets your attention right? " me! me! me!" Eventually, you look, right?



I talk softly, which forces them to listen to what I'm saying. Sometimes that will make them more likely to comply with whatever it is, but other times a megaphone wouldn't even be loud enough to get their attention, much less get them to cooperate!


Stop everything. Establish and maintain eye contact. Disconnect iPod/mute the TV/turn away from the computer. Stand (or sit) still. Don't even start talking to them until all these things are accomplished.


If there is something I really want my kids to hear, I don't tell them. I tell it to DH when the kids are around or I will tell it to one kid like it's a big secret. My kids are very good at listening in on other conversations, so I use it to my advantage from time to time.


If you need them to do something but they act as if you aren't in the room, go get a popsicle and walk back in eating it. I can 100% guarantee that they will immediately stop what they are doing, look at you, and then ask if they can have one. Tell them they can when they do what you ask - it works every time!


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