Sometimes, despite our best efforts, it’s hard to get our kids to listen to us. At times, although I try to remain calm, my voice gets louder and higher in pitch and then…well, you know how it goes! 

Lately I’ve been learning that putting myself in my kids’ place helps me find a better way to encourage obedience when I want them to do something cheerfully and immediately. Young children are easily distracted (hey, us adults are sometimes too!) and so even though we think they hear us, they may really be enraptured with a book or a toy they’re playing with.

It may be hard for them to instantly focus on what we’re saying and sometimes they may not even hear us because they’re so busy! 

How to encourage your child to listen and obey. This tip has helped me time and time again throughout my 9 years of motherhood!

 So here’s what I do.

When I want to have my child’s full attention and gain their immediate cooperation, I need to take the time to do this:

 Call them over to me, get down to their level and look them in the eye.

This method works just about every time! Being one-on-one helps my child to focus on exactly what I’m saying and then respond by saying, “Ok, Mom,” before going off to do whatever he or she is asked to do.  

Obviously, I’m not going about this in a menacing way, giving them a stare-down and hissing between clenched teeth. It’s just a simple matter of having them right next to me and speaking clearly and pleasantly so they understand what’s being asked of them. Good for me, good for my little ones! And everybody can stay calm. (Now, if only I would remember to do this more often…!) 

How do you encourage obedience and cooperation in your child?

This post was first published January 19, 2012, but I am still using this very effective method now that we have four children! ;) By the way, if you want some more guidance about parenting that is grace-based, we love this book from Dr. Tim Kimmel!

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19 Comments on One Simple Way to Encourage Obedience in Your Child

  1. This is a very good reminders to us parents. Teaching children to be obedient while they were syill young will make them a better person when they grew up and for us to be a very proud parents as well. Thanks for the post.

  2. Yes and amen to all the comments and the post! You’ve inspired me to try this again (how quickly I forget). It helps me so much to slow down and look my child(ren) in the face…looking them in the eye, I can’t help but feel love for them as I ask or require a task. It also makes me think before I ask, making me less likely to fire off commands too often. Thanks, Jenn!

    • Yes, it definitely also makes me think before I ask them to do something…I really need to remind myself to do this more often too! Thanks for commenting, Theresa :)

  3. This is something that has been on my heart lately. I find when I lower my voice and keep myelf calm, life is so much better. It enables me to get past their ears and to their heart.

  4. Thanks so much for this advice. We are working on obedience with our two-year old. I am going to start doing this!! Sometimes we forget that they are easily distracted by their environment and just need a patient reminder to listen! Popping over from WLW blog hop.

  5. This is so vital. Kids respond best when they are communicated with, not talked at! Eye contact is crucial to let them know they are worth our time! Wonderful, wonderful post!

  6. I feel like I give out commands so quickly that I don’t have time to get down on there level and speak into their eyes… I guess I need to slow down so I can get down ;) great reminder to be intentional and sympathetic in our parenting!

  7. Thanks for following along, Elizabeth! Anna, I am always making the mistake of asking my 6 year old to do four or five things at a time and he would get sidetracked and then I’d get frustrated! I’m so glad to know we are getting better at “training” ourselves–ha ha!

  8. Such a good reminder! I forget sometimes that my children are just as spacey and forgetful as I can be. :)

    I used to ask them to do multiple things and they always did one or two then forgot about the rest. As I’ve been more purposeful about just asking them to do one thing at a time, they have done so much better!

  9. This is a good post. It took me many years to learn this, I wish I had realized it when my older children were little. I like your blog and just became a follower.

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